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Defence Chief: NATO Has Committed Four to Five Times More Aircraft to the Baltics

The Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Jarmo Lindberg, has taken note that activity levels on the Baltic Sea have increased of late. He says the Baltic Sea is now the scene of more military exercises, as well as more air and sea traffic.

“There has been more of everything,” Lindberg said during his Tuesday morning radio interview. “Russia has been more active and our statistics indicate an increase in volume. The same holds true for NATO,” he said.

The NATO military alliance has enhanced its air patrols of the Baltics manifold, he explained.

“Earlier there were just a few aircraft and now there are four or five times that amount. All of this cumulates into an expanded operating field in the Baltic Sea area.”

Back in April, the news agency Reuters estimated that NATO had tripled its number of fighter planes in the Baltic airspace.

Lindberg on Aranda: No need for investigation

Based on the information available, Lindberg believes there is no need for further study of the disruption targeting the research vessel Aranda.

This weekend it was revealed that the Russian Navy had twice interfered with the work of the Aranda in international waters east of Gotland, Sweden, once in early August and again in early September. Lindberg stressed in his radio interview that the Defence Forces will not assume any kind of role in the matter.

“The Aranda is a civilian ship that was sailing on international waters. We will conduct no analysis of the events.”

Some suspect that Russia was testing its submarines in the area during the incidents and requested the Aranda change course as a precautionary measure. Were the Russians following normal procedure, if this was the case?

“If so, yes,” answered the Commander.

“There are Baltic Sea basins in that area, making it an ideal location for testing submarines. In this scenario, if a submarine had to rise to the surface quickly, then of course they would want to make sure that no ships were on the surface at that time.”

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