#RussiaFail · Russia · Sweden

Sharp Swedish Protest – Forced Away Russian Vessels

Margot Wallström and Vladimir Putin. Photo: TT

The Russian warship RFS Korolev forced off guard ship Alcedo – in service at the Swedish-Lithuanian cable project NordBalt – from its position in the Baltic Sea. It was in contravention of applicable international law.

It appears from a now published protest to Russia confidentiality tested on Svenska Dagbladet’s request.

Yesterday 12:18

The incident occurred outside the Lithuanian coast within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea on March 19 of this year. A month later, on April 22, was handed a sharp note of protest from the Foreign Ministry to the Russian Embassy in Stockholm, and an identical from the Lithuanian government.

The two countries, writes:

“It is with great concern that we have noted the frequent disruptions by warships of the Russian Federation in violation of international navigational rights and legitimate activities”.

Svenska Dagbladet has previously been able to reveal that Sweden reacted to the high level to the Russian navy’s actions in the Baltic Sea. In mid-August asked SvD also about a secrecy examination of the note with the result that now, almost three months later, released in its entirety.

Here is a protest note to Russia. (Page 1 of 2).

The note specifically mentions a total of five incidents in the Baltic Sea in 2014 and 2015, “when the warships of the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet ordered the ships present in the area to abandon their course and leave it”.

Here is a protest note to Russia. (Page 2 of 2).

Alcedo, chartered by ABB, was then off the Lithuanian coast to ensure that efforts to put down cables between Sweden and Lithuania, could continue undisturbed. Instead, appeared then the Russian ship RFS Korolev up and forced out the Swedish-Lithuanian patrol craft from his position – unacceptable behavior according to both countries of protest:

“The Governments of the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Lithuania ask the Russian Federation ensure the Russian naval units to refrain from any future interference with any legitimate, peaceful and civilian activities in the Baltic Sea”. What the Russians have answered is not known.

Recently, the Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary to visit Moscow for talks with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov. Sweden’s newly appointed ambassador to Russia, Peter Ericson, would not say if the protest note was raised in the talks.

– No comments, says Ambassador Ericson short, to SvD.

We never go into the exact details of what is discussed in the talks.

According to Margot Wallström’s press secretary Pezhman Fivrin focused discussions on the situation in Ukraine, the Middle East and Syria and on bilateral issues between countries.

– We never go into the exact details of what is discussed in the talks, said Fivrin.

The incidents in the Baltic Sea is an example of a long series of disturbances in the diplomatic relations between Sweden and Russia in recent years.

During the summer forced a Swedish diplomat to leave his post at the embassy in Moscow as a Russian response to a Russian diplomat in Stockholm declared persona non grata in the country.

SvD has also previously reported that Swedish försvarsattachéer in Moscow received its activities increasingly circumscribed and had difficulty fulfilling their role.

The Russian ambassador in Sweden, Vitor Tatarintsev, has repeatedly expressed concern that Sweden will ever closer to NATO, and warned that Swedish membership would have military implications.

Nordbalts cables in the Baltic Sea is in place and the only thing that remains is to test that the system works properly.

– It will be operational in early 2016, says press officer Olof Klingvall to SvD.

What is it about?

NordBalt is a joint Swedish-Lithuanian project that ties together the Swedish grid with Baltic countries.

The cables are routed along the Baltic seabed and making it possible for Lithuania and the other Baltic States to reduce its energy dependence on Russia.

On the Swedish side of the project is run by the Swedish power grid with the Lithuanian national grid operator LITGRID as counterparty.

The cost has been estimated to total approximately EUR 550 million. The project has received a grant of 175 million euros from the European Commission, which aims to promote integrated electricity markets in Europe.