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Swedish Armed Forces Offers Proof a Submarine Violated Its Waters

An image taken by a Swedish navy vessel showing what it says is track made by a submarine on the seabed in the Stockholm archipelago. Swedish Armed Forces

Sweden said Friday that it has proof a foreign submarine violated its territorial waters. The Scandinavian country had launched an extensive Cold War-style hunt last month after detecting "underwater activity" but found no trace at the time. But on Friday, the military released an underwater image taken by a navy vessel that it said showed conclusive proof of a submarine track on the seabed. "A foreign power has violated Swedish territorial integrity," the Swedish Armed Forces said in a statement. "The gravity of this is obvious."

This conclusion was based on the seabed photograph, according to the statement, as well as high-level sensor data and a blurry image taken by a member of the public last month showing "the kind of spray that arises when water is pushed out of scuttles at the top of a submarine."

"There is no doubt, we have excluded all other explanations," the statement added. Sweden has never named the country it believes responsible for the alleged violation in the Stockholm archipelago, but widespread speculation of Russian involvement was met by continued denials from Moscow, which at one point calling the episode a "tragicomedy."

Image: Swedish military unidentified submarine hunt
A photo taken by a member of the public in October showing what Sweden’s military says is spray similar to the pattern of water displaced by a submarine. Swedish Armed Forces via EPA

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- Alexander Smith