Sweden Invades Tourist Island, Fearing Russian Games

Swedish ground forces placed on the island amid naval exercises in Black Sea

Sweden is rapidly militarizing Gotland, an island with value mostly in tourism, putting more ground troops on the island and warships in the area after Russian naval exercises in the Black Sea, which they interpreted as a regional threat.

Both NATO and Russia have been holding exercises on the island, and while there is no indication Gotland is in any way a target, it seems Sweden is taking this opportunity to bulk up its military presence along the coast.

The only real connection is that Gotland is across the Baltic from Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave which has hosted some of the naval exercises. While Russia wants to emphasize its naval readiness, that probably doesn’t mean ambitions in Scandinavia.

Sweden’s largest island, Gotland was briefly occupied by Russian forces in 1808 during the Finnish War. Sweden repelled the Russians less than a month later. The island has not been contested since.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.