01:54 GMT +317 June 2019
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    Polish Soldiers (file)

    Sweden Drops the Ball as Polish 'Warships' Embark Without Permission

    © AFP 2019 / CHRISTOF STACHE
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    Of late, Sweden has been a little preoccupied with the ludicrous idea of a "Russian invasion." Nevertheless, it seems to overlook more palpable threats, as a group of Polish soldiers embarked on Sweden's western coast without the permission of the Swedish government.

    The incident featuring a Polish squad exercising without permission happened in mid-May, yet only surfaced last week. A group of uniformed Polish soldiers was reported to have embarked on the Swedish island of Tjörn in motor-driven rubber boats to practice in the area. The makeshift exercise was conducted without the necessary permission of the Swedish government, the Swedish daily Göteborgs-Posten reported.

    "The crew did things you should not do without permission," Swedish Armed Forces press officer Carl Karlsson told Göteborgs-Posten.

    According to the newspaper, Poland had only applied for permission to get to the training facility in Skärhamn and back by land. However, a subsequent military report indicated that the Polish soldiers also appeared in Swedish territorial waters. Previously, Poland sought permission for five military vehicles with cargo, which consisted of three rubber boats. Instead of merely transporting the vessels to the training facility, the Polish servicemen carried out a military exercise in the area around Tjörn.

    "We are an authority that gives transportation permissions. In this case, we gave permission for the Polish soldiers to get from Karlskrona to the training facility on the West Coast. The permission applied to road transports alone. There was no permission for the operation conducted, which is considered a violation of the Access Regulation," Karlsson explained.

    Since the rubber boats were under military command, these formally constituted warships.

    "This means that the motor-driven inflatable boats are considered as naval ships and thus require permission to use the vessels on Swedish territory," a Swedish military report said.

    Karlsson admitted that the Swedish Armed Forces have no information on the exact proceedings of the Polish squad, nor has it been established how many people were included in it. The result of the violation also remains unknown.

    "I have no idea. Now the case has been handed over to the Foreign Ministry. I don't know how they will proceed, but probably explain that it was wrong to do this," Karlsson said. "There are rules for how things should be done, to avoid misunderstanding and ambiguity. We want to know which units are moving and staying in Sweden. When you apply, you may get permission, but in this case Poland had no such thing," Karlsson concluded.

    Swedish Armed Forces press officer Jesper Tengroth admitted to the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that violations of this kind tend to happen "several times a year."

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    army, defense, Scandinavia, Baltic Sea, Sweden, Poland
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