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Main Diplomacy — Putin has set his sights on Gotland: Swedish Army Chief warns against Russian Baltic ambitions

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Putin has set his sights on Gotland: Swedish Army Chief warns against Russian Baltic ambitions

22 May, 2024
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Putin has set his sights on Gotland: Swedish Army Chief warns against Russian Baltic ambitions

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The Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces, Micael Bydén, believes that the Kremlin's leader, Vladimir Putin, wants to control the Baltic Sea.

He said this in an interview with RND.

Micael Bydén noted that whoever controls the Swedish island of Gotland controls the Baltic Sea. According to him, Putin wants to gain control over Gotland.

"Yes, I am convinced that Putin has even set his sights on Gotland. Putin's goal is to gain control over the Baltic Sea. Probably, he has also set his sights on the Åland Islands. Russians closely monitor what is happening at the entrances and exits to the Baltic Sea," the commander said.

He emphasized that if Russia takes control and blocks the Baltic Sea, it will have a huge impact on life in Sweden and all other countries in the Baltic Sea region.

"We cannot allow this. The Baltic Sea should not become Putin's playground, where he can intimidate NATO members," he stressed.

The Commander-in-Chief underscored that Gotland is Swedish territory, so Sweden is responsible for its defense, and Gotland has the right to defense.

 

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"There were times when we reduced our military presence on Gotland to the point where we only had a voluntary National Guard unit there. Those peaceful times are over. The war in Ukraine has changed the political situation in Europe, and we had to massively arm Gotland.

Now we are guarding the island with permanently stationed units and temporarily deploying additional forces there when the situation becomes dangerous," he explained.

According to him, Sweden is defending Gotland and can also use the island for offensive operations if necessary.

"We are very interested in keeping the sea route open and in controlling what is happening above and below the water surface. From Gotland, we can help other NATO countries in the Baltic Sea live safely.

But if Putin invades Gotland, he will be able to threaten NATO countries from the sea. This would be the end of peace and stability in the Northern and Baltic regions," Bydén added.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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