Sweden has, if nothing else, added a new definition to the concept of partnership. Earlier this week the Swedish daily Expressen reported that an extraordinary meeting had taken place between the state secretary in the Foreign Ministry, Annika Soder, and Russia’s ambassador to Stockholm, Viktor Tatarintsev. It wasn’t the meeting that was extraordinary: it was Tatarintsev’s demands.
But first, a bit of background: during an upcoming military exercise this spring in the Baltic Sea, Swedish aviators will join Finnish and American colleagues in practicing the defense of regional airspace. An exercise involving the Swedish, Finnish, and American air forces is a logical response to Russia’s growing military activities in the skies above the Baltic Sea and its neighboring countries: the Baltic states only have minimal air force capabilities, whereas Sweden and Finland’s air forces are, at least in theory, able to hold their own against intruders. It makes sense to practice together and to be joined by the United States, which the Baltic states consider their protector.