Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, said he would place a company of about 150 soldiers on Gotland, which lies almost midway between mainland Sweden and Latvia in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Sweden will also step up military exercises around the island involving the army, navy and air force.
“Gotland is a major strategic base on the Baltic. We want to slow down a possible invasion to win time before we get help from the mainland”, Classon said.
Karlis Neretnieks, the onetime rector of the Defense Institute, readily echoed Classon’s alarmist sentiment saying that at least 1,500 troops, 20-30 tanks, 50 armored vehicles, a small artillery battalion and an air-defense battery would be needed to foil the enemy’s attempt to demine the caves.
A theoretical capture of the island could pose a ”serious threat to the Baltic nations NATO might prove too late to help out”, Karlis Neretnieks warned.
All this is part of the anti-Russian paranoia that has swept Sweden the past few months, with reported sightings of Russian subs allegedly lurking around Swedish waters and Moscow allegedly stepping up its political, economic and military espionage in the country…
In the most recent example of all this political whodunit, members of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) decided to use 'gay propaganda' to shoo away imaginary Russian subs.
They installed a subsurface sonar system called "The Singing Sailor," which sends out Morse code to any visitors nearby with the message:
"Welcome to Sweden. Gay since 1944. This way if you're gay."
Meanwhile, Stefaan De Maecker of the local Green Party said that instead of going around mining the island, the local politicians should better bother about the much-needed reconstruction of the Slite harbor so that it could serve as a backup to the seaport at Visby.
No enemy submarines have so far been sighted off Gotland, but the tourists, regularly ferried in from the mainland, will soon have a chance to experience the nerve-tickling sensation of walking among mines…