Sweden sees risk of military escalation in Baltic region

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden’s external military intelligence service said Friday the security policy situation in the Baltic Sea region “has deteriorated over time,” meaning there is “an increased risk of military incidents and confrontation that can, in the worst case, lead to a situation escalating.”

The Military Intelligence and Security Service, known by its Swedish acronym MUST, said “the dynamics between the United States, China, Russia and the European Union also affects the security policy situation in the Baltic Sea region.”

In its annual report for 2019, the agency said the region “continues to be characterized by increased military activity. This means a growing risk of military incidents and confrontation that may, at worst, escalate.”

MUST noted that “generally speaking Russia remains militarily inferior to the United States and NATO” but stressed that Russia “has the ability to be militarily superior regionally, and for a limited time.” The reason for that is that NATO and Europe are dependent on American strengthening in the event of a conflict and that this would have to be relocated from North America.

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Last month, Estonia’s foreign intelligence agency said the likelihood of a military attack from neighboring Russia remains low. Still, he said, any confrontation with Russia and the West could quickly turn into “a threat situation” for the three Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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