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HomeDefenceSweden’s navy chief accuses Russian tankers of carrying out espionage for Moscow

Sweden’s navy chief accuses Russian tankers of carrying out espionage for Moscow


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Sweden is leading the charge for a greater crackdown on Russia’s shadow tanker fleet passing through the Baltic, with the country’s navy boss warning this week the ships could be carrying out espionage for Moscow. 

Splash reported last week how littoral states around the Baltic, led by new NATO member Sweden, are waging a diplomatic campaign to get other countries to back a greater crackdown on Russia’s shadow fleet passing through the region, concerned about the potential for environmental catastrophe with a number of near disasters reported among the ageing fleet of tankers over the past year.

Foreign ministers from the eight Nordic-Baltic grouping of countries met on the Swedish island of Gotland earlier this month to discuss how to tackle the Russian fleet.

Last month, a tanker from Russia’s shadow fleet was involved in a collision near Denmark sparking much debate in the country about a greater crackdown on such ships transiting through the Danish Straits. 

Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billstrom has hinted that the upcoming latest EU sanctions package would target Russia’s shadow fleet, something he discussed last week with his counterpart in the UK, David Cameron.

Now Swedish Navy chief Ewa Skoog Haslum, in comments to the SVT public broadcaster this week, has suggested some of the Russian fleet passing near her shores are engaged in espionage. 

Haslum said some of the ships from the shadow fleet have been found to possess communications and signals equipment not usually associated with cargo vessels, leading to concerns they could be used in “hybrid operations.”

Haslum warned the shadow fleet could become both a “security and environmental tragedy.”

Source: Splash

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