Sweden has released a grainy photo of a mysterious vessel in Stockholm's archipelago, as the military hunted for a foreign submarine or divers in the country’s biggest such mobilisation since the Cold War.
The search in the Baltic Sea less than 50 kilometres from Stockholm began on Friday and reawakened memories of the final years of the Cold War when Sweden repeatedly sought out suspected Soviet submarines along its coast with depth charges.
The Swedish military showed one picture of what appeared to be a craft surrounded by white ripples. The witness who took the photograph said the vessel then submerged. It was one of three sightings that the military said were credible reports, according to Reuters.
The Swedish armed forces have consistently labelled their hunt as one of investigating “foreign underwater activity.”
“It could be a submarine, or a smaller submarine,” Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said on Sunday. “It could be divers using some form of moped-like underwater vehicle and it could be divers that don't have any business on our territory.”
He said the sightings were in “an area that is of interest to a foreign power,” but added he was not in a position to link the activity to any particular nation.
“This does not belong to us. It is a foreign vessel and we have no indications that there would be any civilians involved in underwater activity,” he said.
The incident comes amid rising tension with Russia among the Nordic and Baltic states – most of them European Union members – over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
Finland last week accused the Russian Navy of interfering with a Finnish environmental research vessel in international waters.