Sweden’s Surprise Decision to Keep Troops in Gotland Linked to Top Secret Threat

Swedish soldier participating in ISAF mission in Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2007Information about an increased threat from Russia was a contributing factor in Sweden’s decision to station permanent troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, according to a newspaper report.

Dagens Nyheter (DN) claims that the the threat and its nature have been classified as top secret, meaning the contents cannot be disclosed without a government decision to declassify it.

Since the summer both Sweden’s Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Micael Bydén and defence minister Peter Hultqvist have spoken of a worsening security situation for the country.

At the same time, leaders in the Armed Forces decided that unannounced inspections of their units’ readiness would be carried out, while they also sent 150 soldiers from central Swedish town Skövde to train on Gotland off the east coast.

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Commander ordered the soldiers to stay put on the island, bringing forward a previous decision to station soldiers on the strategically located island from late 2017.

Something has happened in the intelligence picture, but we citizens don’t know what. We can see the effects of it however. The rapid basing of a unit on Gotland is exceptional,” intelligence analysis professor Wilhelm Agrell told DN.

Image: Swedish soldier participating in ISAF mission in Afghanistan, Aug. 26, 2007 (photo: Cpl. John Scott Rafoss/USMC)