Sweden Searches for Mystery Sub, Divers

Russian intrusion suspected
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2014 12:44 AM CDT
Updated Oct 20, 2014 7:00 AM CDT
The Swedish Navy minesweeper HMS Koster patrols in the Stockholm archipelago yesterday.   (AP Photo/TT News Agency/Marko Saavala)
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(Newser) – The Swedish military spent the weekend scouring coastal waters for what it says was "foreign underwater activity" detected in "an area that is of interest to a foreign power." The military didn't name Russia as the possible source of the activity, but a Swedish newspaper says that a distress signal from a Russian submarine that may be stranded underwater was detected on an emergency frequency, reports the BBC. The "activity" could "be a submarine, or a smaller submarine," a Swedish military spokesman told reporters. "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." The Russian Defense Ministry denies that one of its submarines is missing, reports the New York Times.

"Submarines of the Russian Navy, just like surface vessels, are carrying out tasks in the aquatic area of the world’s oceans according to plan," it said in a statement. "There have been no incidents, and moreover no emergencies, with Russian military vessels." Further, an unnamed Russian official today suggested that Sweden "turn to the naval command of the Netherlands for an explanation." The AFP reports that the Dutch defense ministry has fired back, acknowledging the country "participated in an exercise with Sweden with several ships, but it ended last week Thursday." The search has been the biggest such mobilization of the Swedish armed forces since the Cold War, when there were repeated sightings of Soviet submarines; the military says information about the underwater activity comes from a "trustworthy source," reports Reuters.

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