Previously, the fictitious “Russian threat” mentioned by numerous agencies and security services, coupled with a media narrative of an “assertive” and “aggressive” Moscow has been cited as the reason for a plethora of military measures, including a historic hike of the military budget unseen since the Cold War-era and a re-establishment of units.
More countries see space as a possible arena for conflicts in the future and already today, space is used as an arena for intelligence, Swedish Security Police (Säpo) chief Charlotte von Essen said at the national conference Nation and Defence.
With space as a new arena, “foreign powers” get new opportunities, Säpo warned. According to Säpo, a conflict in space can begin with the disruption of socially important functions through an attack on an important space system, such as a navigation satellites. And for those who want to communicate with their satellites and retrieve data, Sweden is in a strategic location, according to the authority.
Two countries singled out as the biggest intelligence threats to Sweden, and which Säpo named as having high ambitions for their space activities, are China and Russia.
“For China and Russia, space is important from both a military and civilian perspective. The countries are also very interested in acquiring knowledge about Swedish research that contributes to the development of space. More people with activities that can be connected to space need to create increased awareness of this,” Charlotte von Essen said.
According to her, this development affects both the intelligence assessment and the security situation in Sweden, directly and indirectly.
“Seeing space from a total defence perspective is therefore necessary and both preparedness and knowledge need to increase. Collaboration is required to create understanding and resilience”, von Essen urged.
Earlier, during the same conference, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist claimed Russia was “questioning and threatening” the entire European security system. Citing Russia’s massing of troops within its own borders, which he referred to as “military escalation with Ukraine”, and Moscow’s recent set of proposals to NATO and the US that feature non-expansion and the non-placement of materiel and troops, Hultqvist claimed that Russia “challenges international law when it questions other countries’ right to self-determination”.
Previously, Hultqvist claimed Sweden had no other military threats against it other than from Russia, despite the fact that the last war fought between the two counties ended in 1809. Remarkably, the “Russian threat” mentioned in reports by numerous agencies and security services and underpinned by a narrative of an “assertive” and “aggressive” Moscow has been cited as the underlying reason for a slew of military measures, including a historic hike of the military budget unseen since the end of the Cold War, a re-establishment of military units and a re-militarisation of the Baltic island of Gotland.
Furthermore, according to Hultqvist, Sweden will need to cooperate more with NATO, which he called the Nordic country’s most important security policy platform alongside the EU.
At the same time, Sweden’s newly appointed Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson reiterated the long-standing claim that her country wouldn’t seek NATO membership. She said that freedom from military alliances had “served Sweden well” and contributed to stability and security in Northern Europe.
Earlier this year, the Russian Embassy in Sweden lamented that Stockholm “is not inclined to deviate from the chosen confrontational course towards our Russia and doesn’t seek ways to improve bilateral cooperation”.