Putin seeks to control Baltic Sea, Gotland—Swedish commander

Putin seeks to control Baltic Sea, Gotland—Swedish commander

MICAEL Byden, the supreme commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, said in a recent interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to gain control of the Baltic Sea including the Swedish island of Gotland.

Byden once again emphasized that “whoever controls Gotland controls the Baltic Sea”, adding that Russia taking control of the strategic island could threaten NATO countries.

The supreme commander made the statement after Russia announced its plans to unilaterally change the maritime border with Lithuania and Finland in the Baltic Sea.

With a total area of nearly 300,000 hectares, Gotland is the largest island in Sweden that encompasses the Baltic Sea, a strategic waterway that opens many routes to Europe.

It is economically important for Russia and the seven Baltic States that depend on it.

The island also gives Sweden and its new NATO allies a profound advantage in securing the waters and the airspace of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, making it a critical asset in controlling the sea lanes in the region.

Defending Gotland is more important than ever for the Swedish government since the Nordic country became the 32nd member state of NATO in March 2024.


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