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This Country Put Its Navy Into Hiding

Sweden's island base, Muskö, is back in action
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2019 5:26 PM CDT
The Swedish minesweeper HMS Kullen under way in Namdo Bay, Sweden, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014 on their fifth day of searching for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago.   (AP Photo/Fredrik Sandberg)

(Newser) – Nothing like a vast underground base to protect your navy—especially when Russia is getting aggressive. That seems to be Sweden's thinking as the Scandinavian country returns its entire navy to the island base of Muskö, the Guardian reports. Protected by thick granite, laced with tunnels, and boasting its own hospital, it's roughly 25 miles from Stockholm and looks like a James Bond villain's hideaway. "The move is based on the calculation that the Russians could use powerful weapons which demand the level of protection that only Muskö can provide," says a top analyst at the Swedish Defence Research Agency. It isn't Sweden's only military move since Russia began the annexation and occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Swedes have also brought back conscription and talked about increasing military spending, which dipped from 2.5% to 1% of GDP between 1990 and 2010. And they're relocating air force and army commands from the capital city of Stockholm to more secure, diverse locations. As for Muskö, the 50-year-old base was sold to German engineering company Thyssen Krupp after the cold war, but in 2014, Swedish defense company Saab bought them out amid high-pressure tactics—like recruiting Krupp workers and having the defense ministry raid Krupp's shipyards. Meanwhile, the Express notes that Russia's Baltic fleet was active last week firing rockets and bombs in real-time drills. (On the lighter side, a Russian navy boat was sunk by an angry mammal.)

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