On March 2, four Russian military planes violated Swedish airspace east of the island of Gotland in the central Baltic Sea.
A brief Russian raid intercepted by Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighters
As you could already read in Defense and Aviation the next day, the raid was carried out by two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters and two Sukhoi Su-24 attack planes, with the former acting as an escort for the latter. In response to that raid, the Swedish Air Force sent Saab JAS-39 Gripen fighters to intercept the intruders, although the raid was said to be brief.
Following the usual procedure for interception missions, the Swedish fighters photographed the intruding aircraft. The Swedish Air Force published these two photos of the raid that same day.
Swedish fighters confirmed that the Su-24 carried nuclear weapons
This Wednesday, the Swedish television channel TV4 reported that the two Russian Su-24s carried nuclear weapons at the time of the raid. The news also points out that "the violation was a deliberate act with the aim of intimidating Sweden." In fact, on February 25, a few days before that raid and the day after the start of the Ukraine invasion, Russia threatened Sweden and Finland with "serious military consequences" if they joined NATO.
According to TV4, the four Russian planes took off from the air base in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania. "The two attack planes were, according to TV4 Nyheter sources, equipped with nuclear weapons. Something that the Russian pilots were clear about. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, the Swedish Air Force had increased the preparation and could see from the beginning that the Russian pilots were heading to Gotland," TV4 says.
"The violation of Swedish territory lasted about a minute. The air force deployed two JAS-39 Gripens that could meet and take pictures of intruders. It was then that it was confirmed that the Russian planes were equipped with nuclear weapons. External observers see the incident as an expression of a clear strategy on the part of Russia", adds that channel.
The Swedish Armed Forces refuse to comment on the armament of those Su-24s
TV4 has indicated that the Swedish Armed Forces have not wanted to comment on this information. They have neither confirmed nor denied it. This draws attention because what can be deduced from the TV4 information is that the Swedish Air Force would have concealed the detection of these nuclear weapons, about which it did not give any news in its statement that same day.
On this point, yesterday the Swedish public television SVT echoed the news by publishing these words from the Chief of the Swedish Air Force, Major General Carl-Johan Edström: "Exactly how the Russian planes were armed, there is nothing to comment on the moment. What I want to point out is that if we had seen a greater threat to Sweden, we would have reported this."
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