Russian Threat: Sweden stations permanent troops on Baltic Sea island - The Local

16:02 Sep. 14, 2016

Sweden stations permanent troops on Baltic Sea island - The Local

The view of Gotland, large Swedish island and province in the Baltic Sea (Photo by Ulf Sundqvist)

Sweden's Supreme Commander has ordered 150 soldiers currently training on the island of Gotland to stay put

Swedish leaders have previously agreed to station soldiers on the strategically located island in the Baltic Sea from late 2017, but early on Wednesday morning some 150 mechanized infantry troops currently taking part in a military exercise on the island received an order to "dig in".

"External factors in the world have deteriorated over time and it means I have made a decision about a permanent presence and that we station the battle group here earlier," the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Micael Bydén, told broadcaster SVT, which first broke the news.

He stressed that Sweden is not believed to be under immediate threat, but that security and the political situation in its surrounding area have changed in the past few years.

"We have to look realistically at the situation in the world. The Armed Forces are now taking their responsibility and demonstrating that with increased military capability we are taking responsibility for the country's sovereignty," said Bydén.

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