First Interception of Russian Warplanes by "NATO-fied" Sweden

Swedish Air Force deployed JAS-39 Gripen jets to expel a Russian Su-24 from Swedish territory.
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  • 05:21 AM, June 17, 2024
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First Interception of Russian Warplanes by
Russian Su-24 fighter jet that allegedly violated Swedish airspace on June 14, 2024 @Swedish armed forces

The Swedish Air Force intercepted a Russian Su-24 warplane over Gotland territory on June 14, the first since formally entering the NATO alliance.

The incursion occurred when the Su-24 fighter plane allegedly violated Swedish airspace east of the southern tip of Gotland, Swedish military said. Gotland is situated less than 350 km from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Despite verbal warnings from Swedish air combat command, the Russian aircraft did not alter its course. Subsequently, the Swedish Air Force deployed a pair of JAS-39 Gripen jets to expel the intruder from Swedish territory.

"The Russian action is not acceptable and shows a lack of respect for our territorial integrity. We followed the entire process and were there to intervene," stated Air Force Chief Jonas Wikman. The offense, although brief, underscored heightened tensions and the readiness of Swedish defenses under NATO protocols.

This recent breach is reminiscent of previous incidents in 2022 when two Russian Su-27 and two Russian Su-24 aircraft similarly violated Swedish airspace over Gotland.

According to Swedish military doctrine, controlling Gotland means having control over air and naval movements in the Baltic Sea. Sweden reopened its garrison on Gotland in 2018, after it had been closed in 2004 due to cuts in military spending.

In response to years of reduced military spending, Sweden had closed its Gotland garrison in 2004 but reopened it in 2018. Russia's unilateral annexation of Crimea in 2014 spurred Sweden to bolster its military once again. The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 ultimately led to Sweden's historic decision to join the NATO military alliance.

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