The commander-in-chief of the Swedish armed forces, Micael Bydn, has warned against Russia’s power ambitions in the Baltic Sea.

“I’m sure Putin even has both eyes on Gotland. Putin’s goal is to gain control of the Baltic Sea,” said the army chief in an interview with the editorial network Germany (RND). He fears that Putin probably also has his eye on the Åland archipelago. “If Russia takes control and seals off the Baltic Sea, it would have an enormous impact on our lives – in Sweden and all other Baltic Sea states. We can’t allow that,” he said. “The Baltic Sea must not become Putin’s playground where he terrifies NATO members.”

From Gotland, Sweden can help other NATO states in the Baltic Sea to live in safety. “But if Putin invades Gotland, he can threaten NATO countries from the sea. “That would be the end of peace and stability in the Nordic and Baltic regions,” said Bydn.

The army chief also commented on allegations that Russia could be behind the recent train accident in Sweden. There is no evidence yet and the investigation is ongoing. “At the same time, this example is exactly the kind of act of sabotage we would expect from Russia. “It joins the well-known cases of sabotage on gas pipelines and submarine cables in the Baltic Sea,” he said. “But there are other cases of possible sabotage that are currently being investigated. We have to be much more vigilant than before to defend our countries against Russia.”

The Swedish army chief Micael Bydn has warned of a serious disaster caused by old Russian oil tankers in the Baltic Sea. “Russia could cause an environmental disaster right on our doorstep and make it look like an accident. The consequences for the environment would be devastating,” said the commander-in-chief of the armed forces in an interview with RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND). “First of all, these Russian oil tankers are a real danger to the environment in Europe. These very old, dilapidated ships are not maintained as necessary and conceal their Russian origins by not sailing under the Russian flag.”

The Russians could also use these ships in other ways to wage war against NATO, he said. “There is no better way for Russia to sneak up on us than by disguising itself as an old oil tanker. They can use the ships to intercept our communications, secretly transport something or use them for underwater sabotage.” When asked whether Russia has already used the oil tankers for these purposes, the army chief emphasized: “We really can’t rule anything out.”