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Sweden sends tanks and soldiers to the Baltic island in the face of the Russian threat

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“AThe armed forces are taking the necessary measures to protect the integrity of Sweden and demonstrate our ability to protect Sweden and the interests of the Swedes,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told AFP via email.

The move comes after three Russian amphibious assault ships sailed across the Baltic Sea through the Great Belt off Denmark this week as tensions escalate between Russia and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states.

In a statement released Thursday, the military said troops would be deployed to “intensify operations in many locations” due to “increased Russian activity in the Baltic Sea.”

Hutqvist also told news agency TT that the patrols on Gotland show that Sweden is taking the situation seriously and that “it won’t be taken by surprise”.

Swedish military operations commander Michael Claesson told AFP that the units sent to Visby come from a garrison already stationed on the island, denying it was a “show of force”.

Western countries blame Russia for tanks and dozens of soldiers amassing on the border with Ukraine in recent weeks, which NATO says is a prelude to a possible invasion.

Russia denies it is preparing a military offensive and says it is a response to the growing presence of the Atlantic Alliance in its sphere of influence.

In the middle of today, the Swedish armed forces said they had detected growing Russian activity in the Baltic Sea, indicating the presence of “elements that deviate from the normal framework”, and decided to increase military training in the Scandinavian country.

“From now on, we will be more visible and will be in important civilian strategic locations,” Thomas Angshammar, spokesman for the SVT Gotland Regiment, told public television, referring to the port and airport of Sweden’s largest island in the Baltic Sea. Sea. .

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The reason lies in the “increasing activity” in areas close to Sweden and the importance of “demonstrating to the people of Gotland and other countries that we have an active defense that adapts to the situation.”

However, the Swedish defense believes that the risk of an attack on the Scandinavian country is “low”.

Tensions between Sweden and Russia have intensified in recent years, which coincided with the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, with mutual condemnations of airspace violations, in particular by the Swedish side.

The most serious incident occurred in 2014, when Stockholm cited a violation of its territory by an alleged foreign submarine, indirectly blaming Russia for this, but the main evidence – several photographs provided by civilians – was forgotten after a few months.

In recent years, Sweden has stepped up its cooperation with NATO, with which it has an association agreement, and has approved a number of measures to increase its defense budget.

The Stockholm government also decided to send a permanent detachment to Gotland, restore compulsory military service, allow the presence of NATO troops on Swedish soil and reissue a manual with information on how to act in the event of an emergency or military invasion.

In 2018, the Swedish Armed Forces called on the 22,000-strong National Guard, a permanent corps of volunteer reservists, to prove their ability to mobilize, a measure that has not been used since 1975.

Read also: Sweden increases military readiness in the face of Russian activity, eliminates the threat

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A man takes his uncle, who would already be dead, to the post office to cancel the reform.

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Last Friday, Declan Honey drove his uncle to the post office in Carlow, Ireland, to collect his pension. Arriving at the scene, he fell unconscious to the ground.

“He walked normally and I think he died,” the nephew told the Irish Mirror, quoted by the publication. SKY News.

Irish police believe Pidar Doyle, 66, died before reaching the post office at 11:00 am. However, the nephew says he is “falsely” accused of trying to steal his uncle’s pension.

According to Declan Honey’s version, he and someone else carried the uncle from the house to the post office on foot, which takes about five minutes. He says they let him go to the bar and then he fell to the floor. Only then did they realize that he was dead.

The autopsy performed could not indicate the time of death, only that it must have been Friday morning. Thus, the police could not determine whether the retired artist was already dead when he left the house.

The Irish Times reported that when the three men entered the post office, an employee asked if the elderly man was all right. After the question, the nephew and the person who helped him left the building, the newspaper writes. The postal workers serving Pidar Doyle realized he was dead.

Before going to the post office, a person calls to pick up the repair. However, it was explained that the pensioner must be present. Soon Declan Hawney showed up with his uncle. The cost of repairs in the end was not transferred to anyone.

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Pidar Doyle’s nephew has not been arrested and the case is still under investigation.

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Ukraine: West threatens Russia with ‘very grave consequences’

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For all participants in this meeting of Western countries, it is up to Russia to “take visible de-escalation initiatives” in this conflict, according to a statement from the press service of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The videoconference comes at a time when the United States and European countries appear to be facing some disagreement over how Russia might invade Ukraine.

Countries such as the UK, the US and Australia have announced the withdrawal of some diplomats from Kiev, but countries in the European Union (EU) have not yet issued a decree on the departure of some of their personnel.

Germany has also been at the center of the discussions, as Ukraine has been harshly criticized for refusing to hand over weapons, even defensive ones, in contrast to countries such as the US, the UK or the Baltic states.

At the meeting, which was attended by the leaders of the United States, France, Britain, Italy or Poland, as well as the NATO Secretary General, Western leaders expressed “great concern” about the movement of Russian troops on the eastern border of Ukraine and accused Moscow of being the source of “the current tensions,” the statement released by Berlin said.

However, the parties believe that “the issue of security and stability in Europe can be resolved through negotiations.”

Western countries also reaffirmed their “readiness to continue diplomatic efforts in this direction”, which had already taken place in January, with several meetings between Western and Russian authorities, albeit without much success.

NATO countries on Monday put forces on alert and sent ships and fighter jets to boost defenses in Eastern Europe from Russian military activity on Ukraine’s borders, the Atlantic Alliance said.

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In a statement released in Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which Portugal is a member, announced the current and future reinforcement of resources in the region by Denmark, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United States.

The US Secretary of Defense has placed about 8,500 troops on high alert, ready to deploy NATO if necessary, the Pentagon said.

Baltic leaders welcomed reports that the US plans to send thousands of troops, along with aircraft and warships, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.

The European Commission has already announced a €1.2bn emergency aid package for Ukraine aimed at keeping the country “free and sovereign” and supporting Kiev in these “difficult circumstances” in the face of the Russian threat on the Ukrainian border.

The Kremlin today accused NATO and the United States of “exacerbating” tensions by sending warships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe in the context of an alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Tensions are intensified by statements and concrete actions by the US and NATO. [Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte]Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters who asked him to comment on the deployment of NATO troops.

Peskov criticized what he called “hysteria” in Europe after warnings about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine have intensified in recent weeks.

The West accuses Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders in preparation for the attack.

Moscow denies any plans in this direction and demands guarantees of its security, including the refusal of Ukraine from membership in NATO, the cessation of the expansion of the Alliance and the deployment of military forces in Eastern Europe, claims unacceptable to the West.

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Ukraine: EU ready for tough response, but goal is to avoid armed conflict, says Santos Silva

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“Our goal is very simple: to avoid an armed conflict in Eastern Europe, to avoid an armed conflict on the border between Russia and Ukraine. We are far from thinking that the political and diplomatic path has been exhausted. On the contrary, it continues and must continue,” said Santos Silva, speaking to reporters after the meeting of the heads of diplomacy of the European Union in Brussels.

The security situation in Eastern Europe dominates, relations with Ukraine, “in support”, and with Russia, “developing negatively since 2014”, the US Secretary of State also participated in the meeting 27 via videoconference. , Anthony Blinken, “very important for coordinating positions” and who “demonstrated quite well” the convergence of views between the European Union and the United States, the minister said.

Recalling the principles of the inviolability of borders, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, the prohibition on the use of force, as well as the sovereign right of each state to choose its own alliances and partners, the head of Portuguese diplomacy reiterated that “any violation by Russia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine will have heavy consequences, because it will motivate the response, in the case of the EU, a very difficult response politically and economically.”

“And we are ready for such a response if necessary,” he said, confirming, however, that the great goal of all is to “avoid any aggression” and, therefore, “a serious security crisis in Europe”, therefore it is necessary to work on political and diplomatic channels but also strengthening deterrence.

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The government contacts the people of Portugal and continues to recommend against travel

The government said today that it is in contact with Portuguese residents in Ukraine, most of whom hold dual citizenship, due to Russia’s movement along the border with Ukraine, has no plans to recall diplomatic personnel and continues to recommend against non-essential travel.

“We currently have 216 Portuguese citizens living in Ukraine, the vast majority of whom have dual citizenship, that is, Ukrainians who once emigrated to Portugal, lived and worked there and acquired Portuguese citizenship, as well as their descendants. There are about 30 exclusively Portuguese citizens, but we have everything […] mapped, transcribed, and we know who they are and where they are,” said Minister of State and Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.

The official explained that “about 10 Portuguese live in the east of Ukraine, in the Donbas region, near the Ukrainian border with Russia, with whom the Portuguese executive maintains “special contact to study the conditions of their security and well-being.” that there are no questions” at the moment.

Today, the heads of diplomacy from 27 countries of the European Union (EU), including Augusto Santos Silva, discussed tensions in Eastern Europe in light of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia at the Council in Brussels, in which they participated via videoconference. U.S. diplomatic chief Anthony Blinken.

Today’s meeting comes just hours after the US administration ordered the families of US diplomats stationed in Kiev to leave Ukraine “due to the continued threat of a Russian military operation.”

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When asked about the possible withdrawal of the Portuguese diplomatic corps, Augusto Santos Silva said that the Portuguese embassy in Kiev is “small”, in which “mostly local officials of Ukrainian nationality work.”
Thus, “no Member State [da União Europeia] will continue to withdraw diplomatic personnel,” he added.

Regarding travel from Portugal to the country, Augusto Santos Silva recalled that “since 2014 [aquando da anexação da península da Crimeia], Portugal advises to refrain from travel in any capacity to Donbass” as well as from “non-essential travel to Ukraine” due to the covid-19 pandemic, as it is a third state.

“I spoke with the Ambassador of Portugal in Kiev and asked him to reassess […] to know whether it was necessary to develop in these councils”, but “we keep the advice against trips to the region and to Ukraine, a decision that is not momentary and not motivated by current events and that comes from behind”, stressed the head of Portuguese diplomacy.

Ukraine and NATO have in recent months condemned the concentration of large numbers of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border as preparation for an invasion.

Westerners fear a Russian invasion of the territory of a neighboring country, similar to the one that occurred in 2014 and ended with the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The Kremlin (Russian Presidency) rejects the bellicose intent of these maneuvers.

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