Sweden started making a big fuss about a month ago, saying that something was under the water just off its coast. It wasn't supposed to be, and they were pissed. After launching a massive hunt, they came up with nothing, but Sweden says this picture proves they knew what they were talking about all along.
The whole incident started when Sweden picked up messages in Russian on an emergency channel. To them, it sounded just like a submarine in distress. And there was a serious problem with that, mainly being that Sweden didn't have any distressed submarines and also the Swedish Navy doesn't speak Russian as a matter of course.
So the hunt was on. There were fuzzy pictures snapped by locals from nearby beaches, there were reports of intentional disinformation from the Swedish military, the top officer in Sweden called the whole thing "fucked up," and the whole time Russia cryptically denied anything was going on with its submarines.
Unfortunately for the Swedish military, nothing popped up in its search, and the chattering masses started to deride the whole thing as a ploy for more military funding.
Sweden released this picture this morning of what it says is a submarine track along the seabed:
And while it looks to me like something was dragged along the bottom of the Stockholm archipelago for a bit, it's hard from that image to discern exactly what it was. But in a statement released today, the Swedish Navy is certain in its determination that it was definitely a foreign submarine. They say the clincher for them wasn't actually this picture, but something even better. And they're not saying what exactly that conclusive proof was:
The decisive observation is made by the Swedish Armed Forces' sensors. It is a result of a highly skilled operational conduct. The observation meets the requirements for the highest level of assessment grading, confirmed submarine, says Supreme Commander Sverker Göranson.
The Swedish Armed Forces will not account for details on this observation since it could disclose information on Swedish abilities and capacities.
The image of the seabed was actually taken after the original "decisive observation" was made, and after a Swedish naval corvette had already received strong signals of an anomaly below. All of this was coupled with civilian observations of unusual activity on the surface.
From the evidence on hand, the Swedish Navy can't determine what nationality the intruder was. But they are still extremely upset:
Each of these observations has a high credibility. Together with other observations, and a confirmed submarine, they generate a pattern. Thus, the intelligence operation confirms that a foreign power has violated Swedish territorial integrity. The gravity of this is obvious, says Supreme Commander Sverker Göranson.
"We don't know who is behind this, but it is totally unacceptable," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven went on to say in a later press conference.
And, as is befitting all things having to do with submarines, both phantom and corporeal, a budget proposal for increased Swedish military expenditure is already on the table.