Swedish daily: Russia pressured top diplomats to nix Swedish landings at Ämari

NATO fighter jet F-15. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)
2/16/2015 4:41 PM
Category: International

Swedish newspaper Expressen said the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs bowed to Russian pressure and gave a promise that its fighter jets would not land at Estonia's Ämari airbase during an upcoming military exercise.

The daily said Russia has reacted angrily towards the exercise, which will see fighter jets from the United States, Finland and Sweden practice military maneuvers over the region.

The daily has published extracts from memo of a meeting between Annika Söder, a top-level Swedish Foreign Ministry official, and Victor Tatarintsev, the Russian ambassador to Sweden.

Söder told Tatarintsev that Swedish aircraft would not land at Ämari, and neither would Finnish jets. The memo said Tatarintsev was satisfied with that scenario.

The Swedish armed forces and defense ministry have openly criticized the decision.

Other media have reported that the Foreign Ministry maintains it was not ever planned for Swedish planes to land in Estonia, and Aftonbladet quoted a veteran diplomat as saying that it was a fabricated scandal to generate fodder for criticism from the opposition.

The exercise will take place over a few weeks at the end of March and beginning of April mainly over Finland with US fighters taking off from Ämari.

J.M. Laats

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