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Russia's ambassador to Sweden: Relax, no plans to invade

Sweden has been concerned about a conflict with Russia, but Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev attempted to calm fears.

By Ed Adamczyk
Russia's ambassador to Sweden: Relax, no plans to invade
Viktor Tatarintsev, Russian ambassador to Sweden, assured Sweden that Russia has no plans to invade in an interview broadcast Wednesday on Swedish television. Photo courtesy Örebro University

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Russia's ambassador to Sweden told a Swedish television audience not to worry about an invasion.

"We respect the integrity of Sweden, and we have no plans whatsoever to invade Sweden, so the Swedish population can sleep easy," Viktor Tatarintsev, Russian ambassador to Sweden said Wednesday evening on Sweden's SVT television network, in response to an interviewer's question about Crimea.

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Since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, followed by entry of Swedish airspace by Russian fighter planes during training exercises and reports of unidentified submarines in Swedish waters, there has been concern that Russia is plotting an invasion of the country; although the two do not share a border, the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad lies 200 miles away across the Baltic Sea. Relations between the two countries have become reserved, and in 2015 Sweden announced a rare increase in its military budget. Sweden also deployed a permanent military force to Gotland after military experts suggested in a September report the Swedish island in the Baltic Sea could be taken by enemy troops in only a few hours. There also are concerns that property at the Slite port on Gotland, and at the Karlshamm port on the Swedish mainland will be rented to facilitate the Russian-financed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

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Speaking in Swedish, Tatarintsev inadvertently said in the broadcast it is "ludicrous to have any doubts that Russia has special military plans to attack Sweden, Gotland, Karlshamn, Slite."

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