Russian Su-34 aircraft flew close to Sweden for the first time ever during the "Zapad" (West) drills in September.
Looking back at Sweden´s security in 2013 there occured serious events courtesy of the Russian Armed Forces that still, after many months, have not really been explained.
On April 22 the Swedish quality newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported that two Russian Tu-22M3 nuclear-capable bomber aircraft escorted by four Su-27 fighters had performed night time drills about 35 kilometres from the Swedish border the night of March 29/30. Choosing to stage air drills with nuke bombers 35 kilometres from Sweden may sound serious enough, but several Swedish military sources have since stated that the Russian aircraft had also been simulating attacks on two military targets located inside Sweden, one near Stockholm and one in southern Sweden. The Swedish Air Force did not react. But two Danish F-16 fighters did.
The Polish Centre for Eastern Studies commented i.a.:
"The lack of a reaction from the Swedish Air Force to the Russian exercises proves that this most important branch of the Swedish Armed Forces has structural problems and may be unable to cope with all the tasks it has been entrusted with."
"Russia resumed flights of strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear warheads in the High North in 2007 and in the Baltic region in 2011 (in international airspace). However, the manoeuvres of 29/30 March were probably the first Russian exercises to simulate a direct attack on Sweden since the end of the Cold War."
In September , during the larger-than-promised "Zapad" (West) drills, Russian Su-34 aircraft flew close to Sweden for the first time ever and the military of Belarus released a clip (see below) showing elite soldiers from Russia and Belarus confronting an unarmed Swedish Gripen (in recce configuration) that was observing the drills.
In October there was a similar event to the one on 29/30 March, but this time the Swedish Air Force reacted (was allowed to react).
However, the Swedish government has still not really explained why, in its view, these most unusual events occured. The Russian Air Force could have chosen a billion other places for air drills with nuke bombers, yet for some reason chose an area a few heartbeats from Sweden.
Nor has our government, as far as I know, seriously commented on any of these events:
* Two Finnish presidents, one minister of defence and a number of Finnish defence experts have openly spoken out against Sweden´s lack of defence.
* Our closest neighbours, the Norwegians, have during 2013 enlarged conscription both in quality and for some units also in length of service.
* In late 2013 the new Norwegian government announced that it has ordered the establishment of a mostly professional rapid-response unit in Setermoen above the Arctic Circle.
* The Finnish Ministry of Defence in late 2013 confirmed that it wishes to purchase 100 Leopard tanks from the Netherlands in a version more modern than what Sweden has. BTW in 2012 Finland purchased missile systems more advanced than anything in the inventory of any other Nordic state.
Now, concerning the coming year, here are some less reported news items/analysis from 2013 that I believe will affect the world in 2014:
"Putin says new post-Soviet union ready for 2015 launch"
"Can a China-Russia Axis Bankrupt the US?"
"French polls show surge in support for far-right National Front"
"Marine Le Pen was recieved by Russian Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin" (in French, who has seen any news item at all in English about this?)
"US Navy predicts summer ice free Arctic by 2016"
The russian Navy and elite soldiers from Russia and Belarus confronting an unarmed Swedish Gripen (in recce configuration) during the "Zapad" drills in the Baltic.