Russian warplanes violate Sweden's airspace
( UPI )
Four Russian war planes violated Swedish airspace on Wednesday, the Scandinavian country's armed forces said, prompting it to deploy its own forces amid heightened tensions between Europe and Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden's air force dispatched JAS 39 Gripen aircraft in response to two Russian SU 27s and two SU 24s briefly entering its airspace east of Gotland Island in the Baltic Sea.
The aircraft documented and photographed the incursion, the Swedish Armed Forces said.
"This demonstrates that our readiness is good," Air Force Commander Carl-Johan Edstrom said in a statement. "We were on site to secure the territorial integrity and Sweden's borders. We have complete control of the situation."
The incursion occurred a day after Japan said a Russian helicopter entered its airspace hours earlier.
Tensions between democratic nations and Russia have been climbing following the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine last week.
In response, 38 nations have imposed flight bans on Russian planes and Moscow has been repeatedly hit with sanctions.
Among those countries to take a stance against Russia was Sweden, whose prime minister, Magdalena Anderson, announced earlier this week that she would be sending Ukraine 5,000 anti-tank weapons along with protective gear.
"Sweden has not done anything like this since the Soviet Union attacked Finland in 1939," she said in a speech on Tuesday.
It also comes after Russia threatened Sweden and Finland of military and political consequences if they join NATO.