The Swedish military has stepped up its hunt for what is widely believed to be a Russian submarine lurking somewhere in the waters around Stockholm, but officials remain cagey about just what it is they're looking for. "There is no submarine hunt underway, there is an ongoing intelligence gathering operation," Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told reporters yesterday, even as airspace restrictions were enforced and the public was warned to keep a 6-mile distance from vessels involved in the operation, AFP reports. Other Swedish officials say there have been three sightings of the suspected foreign vessel since Sunday, and the military has released photographs of what is believed to be a partially submerged object.
Amid Hunt for Red October comparisons and reports that a damaged Russian sub sent a distress signal from Swedish waters, Moscow has steadfastly denied any involvement, though a former Swedish marine attache says Russia is the likeliest suspect by far. The military appears to be "searching either for divers or diving vessels ... small submarines or possibly a conventional submarine in the 60- to 70-meter class. The latter is less likely," he tells the Local. Suspicions have also been raised by a Russian-owned oil tanker—described as a potential "mother ship" by the Swedish media—that circled Swedish waters for days before heading toward Russia on Sunday and then abruptly turning back, the AP reports. (Read more Sweden stories.)