06:59 GMT +325 March 2017
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    Sweden Backtracks on Baltic Gas Project For Fear of Russian 'Bugs'

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    Despite previously voiced optimism, Swedish regional authorities have made a U-turn and reconsidered plans to lease ports to the Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 after the Swedish government expressed disapproval and the Swedish Armed Forces expressed security concerns.

    Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist lashed out against plans to lease Slite port on the Baltic island of Gotland together with Karlshamn harbor in mainland Sweden to Russia. Even if both ministers made it clear that the rules of regional autonomy would not allow the government to stop the unwelcomed Russian project, the local authorities took the hint and changed their minds after a secret meeting with government officials.

    "We're going to say no to leasing the port [of Slite] to Nord Stream," Tommy Gardell, chairman of the Gotland Council committee handling the decision, said as quoted by Swedish national broadcaster SVT. "It is true that the information that was shared by the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry was crucial for us, and it is obvious that we must abide by their judgments," he said.

    According to military expert Peter Mattson of the Swedish National Defense University, it would be very naïve to let "aggressive Russia" use Sweden's strategically most important areas (which were previously identified as potential entry points for a Russian "invasion" and ensuing "hostile takeover").

    "These are very important areas, where you can engage in active gathering of intelligence data. Who knows what they [the Russians] are about to place under the water? We're talking about devices that can be placed virtually anywhere. They have come a long way in submarine technologies and we don't know everything they have in their possession," Peter Mattson told SVT, citing "vast opportunities" for Russian espionage or sabotage.

    ​Swedish economist and Nord Stream council Lars O. Grönstedt ridiculed the idea that the gas pipes may be fitted with listening devices and waved aside assumptions of a Russian "aggression."

    "No one has been able to describe how such interception would go. It is a physical fact that radio signals travel much slower in water, which radically reduces the amount of data. If a foreign power were to monitor ship traffic in the Baltic Sea, it would rather use cheaper and more effective methods," Lars O. Grönstedt wrote in an opinion piece in Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri.

    Remarkably, both municipalities were initially cheerful about its participation in the lucrative Nord Stream 2 project, hoping to resuscitate their strained economies with new jobs and extra revenues.

    "This is an obvious disappointment for those expecting to improve the employment situation. Also, it would have meant a shot in the arm for the hotels and shops in Slite," Tommy Gardell told SVT.

    Both Gotland and Karlshamn Municipalities are pushing for the Swedish government to compensate for the loss of income. According to estimates by the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, Karlshamn was looking forward to 100 million SEK ($11mln) in revenues, whereas Gotland counted on up to 60 million SEK ($6.5mln).

    ​Sweden's refusal will not stop Nord Stream 2, as Finnish ports of Kotka and Hanko, as well as German Mukran may be used as reserve harbors, Grönstedt pointed out to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

     

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    Tags:
    gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2, Peter Hultqvist, Margot Wallström, Gotland Island, Baltic Sea, Sweden, Russia
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    • Mikhas
      It was on orders from the US or, as they call it "US concerns". Everybody here knows that but remember that this country has been fed with anti-Russian bias since the days of Carl XII who unsuccessfully tried to occupy and plunder parts of Russia and later regimes (Gustaf III) who also tried to pick a fight to the cost of getting the entire east coast regularly burned down to the ground for years and ultimately had to hand over Finland in exchange for peace , or some 300 years at least but most recently because of the latest western "Drang nach Osten".

      The Russians appears to be hiding in every bush over here, or if the stenographing MSM is to be believed: Putin himself in multiple forms...
    • avatar
      tobi.gelando
      Well Sweden well ..... Sweden is a very strange country with long dark Night's !!!!
      Fantasy is then very wild and you get very depressive !!!! Thru but also thru is you could never Thrust Sweden ask Germany and Usa there now from the second WW ... !!!
      Sweden is brave behind the back of Usa / Nato and even the Baltics !!!!
      Cowards !!! and no real working brains !!!
    • nuclearstarr
      turn off the gas to NATO
    • avatar
      Glamoureus
      Swedish loss.

      They could have been Gas Transit country both for Norway, Russia Germany and Poland.

      But they are metally stupid
    • Hagbard Celine
      That does not surpise me, after all they are also scared of Mr. Snowden whom they consider a rapist. Amazing Sweden.
    • Hagbard Celine
      Sweden does actually have an invasion going at the moment, but due to the fact that the invaders have the wrong skin colour, it can´t be reported. So, keep looking to the east while Africans and poeple from the orient flood what is called Sweden.
    • avatar
      double bonus
      [Sweden Backtracks on Baltic Gas Project For Fear of Russian 'Bugs']
      Are they talking about insect bugs, software bugs, or listening device bugs?
    • Mensa
      Well i guess then no gas to europe. Russia should definitely close the gas pipe that goes through ukraine, its nonsense to give them gas for free.
    • avatar
      tobi.gelandoin reply tonuclearstarr(Show commentHide comment)
      nuclearstarr,
      Helllo Nuclearstarr No no no There will de in due time a price increase for gas !!!
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