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Sweden ready to fortify most important Baltic Sea island - Prime Minister

Sweden ready to fortify most important Baltic Sea island - Prime Minister Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Sweden is ready to bolster its defense on the crucial island in the Baltic Sea. The newest NATO member, along with its allies, discusses how to best counter Russia, which is rapidly militarizing, according to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson.

Kristersson said that strengthening the island of Gotland, which defense experts and military officials consider the most strategically important location in the Baltic Sea, will be among the top issues to discuss with NATO partners.

Often referred to as the giant aircraft carrier, the island located between Sweden and Latvia has been repeatedly mentioned on Russian television as a possible target in case Moscow attempts to invade the Baltic countries.

"That is one obvious thing to be discussed with our new NATO allies. Gotland has always been important... that will be one of the many things to discuss," Kristersson responded to whether Stockholm recognizes the need to fortify the island.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that Sweden has only a "small" military presence on Gotland, which other NATO leaders from the North and Baltic regions regularly cite as a critical vulnerability for the alliance.

"There are quite a few things in terms of how to deploy our resources, where to focus the most. And obviously everything to do with the Baltic Sea is such an obvious candidate. That goes in terms of presence on Gotland, but also in terms of surveillance, in terms of submarine capabilities," he said.

Gotland is an island in Sweden located in the Baltic Sea. It is the country's largest island. On January 14 and 15, 2022, the Swedish army urgently deployed troops to the island to deal with the concentration of Russian landing ships near its coast.

Sweden's NATO membership

Sweden officially joined the North Atlantic Alliance on March 7. It became the 32nd member of NATO.

Türkiye opposed Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO due to their support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, as Ankara considers it a terrorist organization.

Finland officially became a member of NATO on April 4, 2023. The country's flag was also raised at NATO headquarters.