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NATO Planes Over Sweden
Decision reached today.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — NATO's advanced aircraft, used for radar surveillance and tactical control, may now avail themselves of Swedish airspace. This is the first time Sweden has ever allowed such access. The decision was made at a cabinet meeting in Stockholm today. Minister for foreign affairs Carl Bildt meanwhile was in Keflavik and Reykholt.
The motivation for the ruling was the supposed Russian military attack on Ukraine and an increase in military activity close to Sweden's borders. This follows closely on the escalation in NATO military activities throughout eastern Europe the past month.
Sweden, a country famous for two hundred years of peace and neutrality, is not a member of NATO, and the Swedish citizenry want to keep it that way, although prime minister Reinfeldt and foreign minister Bildt, both closely aligned with the White House, have other plans. (Reinfeldt was keynote speaker at the most recent NATO summit, and Bildt's been an informer for the US since at least 1976.)
Although a decision was reached, permission has not yet been formally granted. But once granted, it will give NATO access to Swedish airspace every other day 8-31 May. The route will be used for flights between NATO states Norway and Poland.
The decision is regarded as 'unusual' because Sweden will normally allow military use of airspace only for one-time flights to designated airports, and never for airplanes of the type specified. The NATO planes will be able to engage in surveillance whilst still in Swedish airspace.
The Swedish cabinet decision can be interpreted as support for Sweden's closest NATO neighbours to the east, or as blanket support for current US policy in the Ukraine, or as a sign of a rogue government out of control.
NATO AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft fly in an oval pattern and can be airborne for up to eleven hours. The NATO AWACS fleet has been employed mostly over Romania and the Black Sea, this for surveillance of Russia, and they can spy on territory at a distance of up to 400 kilometres.
The official cabinet journal refers to the matter as 'tillträde till svenskt territorium för luxemburgskt militärt statsluftfartyg' - 'access to Swedish territory by Luxembourg military state aircraft'. (NATO aircraft are formally registered in Luxembourg, even though they're stationed in Geilenkirchen, Germany.)
The cabinet decision was corroborated by press secretary Sara Norrevik. Minister for defence Karin Enström was not available for comment, and minister for foreign affairs Carl Bildt was looking at volcanoes. Prime minister Reinfeldt, foreign minister Bildt, and defence minister Enström are all members of the 'Moderates'.