Russian fighter jets have been acting more aggressively around Swedish reconnaissance aircrafts lately, according to Anders Grenstad, deputy director of operations in the Swedish Armed Forces.
On Friday a photo was released by the authority for signals intelligence, FRA, of a Russian Su-27 flying only a few meters away from a Swedish surveillance aircraft. According to Grenstad this more aggressive behavior is a new development.
“You ought to keep a distance of between fifty and one hundred and fifty metres if you want to show that you are there and assert your country’s interests. But this is much more intrusive and, of course, it could go wrong if the pilot is not sufficiently skilled in the maneuvering that he is forced to do here,” Grenstad told Swedish Radio News.
It is in particular in the international air space that the Russian planes have become more aggressive, Swedish Radio reports. The photo released by FRA show a plane only ten metres away from the Swedish aircraft, and the pilot makes sure he turns the plane in a way that the six air-to-air missiles under the plane can be seen.
But there are also examples of when Russian planes have flown into Swedish air space. In September two Russian planes flew over the island of Öland off the Swedish east coast. The then Foreign minister Carl Bildt said that was the most serious violation of Swedish air space that he had experience as a foreign minister.
In the interview with Swedish Radio News, deputy director Anders Grenstad does not want to answer directly the question if the Swedish security alert has been raised because of this, but he says the military preparedness is constantly adjusted to the existing situation.
“Things are looking different out there. So the people who work in that environment are mentally prepared for a situation where there is a more intrusive courting or something,” he said.
But shall we be concerned that Russia would suddenly attack Sweden? asks Swedish Radio News.
“No, absolutely not,” replied Grenstad.