Swedish defense minister calls Russian violation of airspace ‘unacceptable’

Four Russian fighter jets entered Swedish airspace east of the Baltic Sea island of Gotland on Wednesday.

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Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist speaks during press briefing at Karlberg Castle in Stockholm, Sweden on September 24, 2021. (Claudio Bresciani / TT News Agency via Reuters /File Photo)

STOCKHOLM — Four Russian fighter jets briefly entered Swedish territory over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, the Swedish Armed Forces said, sparking a swift condemnation from Sweden’s defense minister.

Two Russian SU27 and two SU24 fighter jets briefly entered Swedish airspace east of the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, Sweden’s Armed Forces said in a statement, adding that Swedish JAS 39 Gripen jets were sent to document the violation.

“The Russian violation of Swedish airspace is of course completely unacceptable,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told news agency TT. “It will lead to a firm diplomatic response from Sweden. Swedish sovereignty and territory must always be respected.”

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Sweden’s Armed Forces said the situation was under control and that the incident showed preparedness was good.

“In the light of the current situation we view this event very seriously,” it said on its website.

Sweden on Sunday said it would send military aid, including 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the first time since 1939 that Sweden has sent weapons to a country at war.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm.