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Swedish military calls off hunt for suspected submarine

By Simon Johnson

The Swedish military said on Friday that it had called of its search for a suspected foreign submarine in waters off Stockholm after a week-long hunt, ending the country’s biggest military mobilisation since the Cold War.

More than 200 troops, stealth ships and helicopters have scoured waters off Stockholm since last Friday after reports of foreign “underwater activity” – suspected to be a Russian sub.

“This means the bulk of ships and amphibious forces have returned to port,” the armed forces said in a statement, adding that some smaller forces would remain in the area.

The military had received what it described as credible reports of activity by foreign submarines or divers using an underwater vehicle. The vessels were unidentified, but during the 1980s the Swedish navy from time to time hunted suspected Soviet submarines in its waters

The incident heightened tensions in a region where governments are increasingly worried about Russian assertiveness since the Ukraine crisis.

In another incident, NATO and Swedish fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian intelligence-gathering plane that briefly entered Estonian airspace on Tuesday. The Estonian Foreign Ministry formally protested to Russia.

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