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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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Scientists from the Instituto Dom Luiz and IPMA uncover the phenomenon that caused the global spread of the tsunami in Tonga.

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The atmospheric acoustic gravity wave caused by the massive explosion of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in the South Pacific on January 15 was the source of a global tsunami. The conclusion was made by a team of researchers from the Dom Luis Institute, the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Lisbon and the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).

Using a combination of sea level data, atmospheric and satellite images from various parts of the globe, to which they applied numerical and analytical models, the scientists demonstrated that “the tsunami was caused by a constantly moving source in which acoustic gravity waves were emitted. eruptions excite the ocean and transfer energy to it through resonance, ”says a study published in the journal Nature under the title “Global tsunami in Tonga attributed to fast moving atmospheric source”.

The coincidence between the tsunami and the time of arrival of these acoustic-gravity waves confirms, according to the researchers, the existence of a direct connection between these two phenomena. “The massive volcanic explosion created noticeable atmospheric waves and an exceptionally fast global tsunami,” comments lead author Rashid Omira, researcher at Instituto Dom Luiz and IPMA.

The geophysicist cites as an example the fact that the tsunami hit the coast of Portugal, on the opposite side of the planet (more than 17 thousand kilometers), “ten hours earlier than expected”, crossing the oceans and causing sea waves of amazing sizes. , has remote areas.

“This was the first time that a tsunami caused by a volcanic eruption was recorded on a global scale with modern and dense equipment around the world, which provided a unique opportunity to study the processes of interaction between air and water during its occurrence and propagation,” says Omira.

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Volcanic eruptions usually cause tsunamis but are now less likely to have transoceanic effects. In Portugal, according to IPMA information released at the time, “sea level changes” were observed in the Azores, Madeira and the mainland. In Ponta Delgada, the water level rose by 40 cm, in Peniche by 39 cm, and in Funchal by 20 cm.

“This tsunami spread across different oceans, including the Atlantic, while sea level fluctuations were observed at almost all mareographic stations operating on the Portuguese coast, fluctuations with an amplitude of less than half a meter,” IPMA then said.

The eruption of an underwater volcano a few kilometers from Tonga raised a cloud of ash and gases into the sky, reaching a height of 20 kilometers. Tsunami waves damaged New Zealand, Chile, Peru and the United States.

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The Ukrainian army accused the Russians of shelling the Snake Island with phosphorus bombs

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“At around 18:00, the Russian armed forces carried out two airstrikes with phosphorus bombs on Snake Island,” Ukrainian commander Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram, accusing Moscow of “disrespecting its own statements.”

The day before, the Russian army announced that it had left the symbolic territory “as a sign of good will”, having “completed” the “set tasks”.

“The only thing this opponent is consistent about is his constant accuracy in attack,” added Zaluzhny.

The officer accompanied his message with video footage showing the plane flying over Zmeiny Island and dropping at least two bombs that hit the target, leaving clear white trails in the sky, a hallmark of phosphorus bombs.

Phosphorus weapons are incendiary weapons prohibited for use against civilians but not against military targets under the 1980 Geneva Convention.

Kyiv has repeatedly accused Moscow of using these weapons since the end of February, including against civilians, which the Russian army categorically rejects.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian army congratulated itself for forcing the Russians, “unable to resist” artillery, to leave Snake Island, located in the northwestern Black Sea.

On February 24, Russia launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine that was condemned by the international community as a whole.

Most Western countries responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and tightening economic and political sanctions against Moscow.

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A typical Ukrainian soup is a UNESCO heritage site: Russia’s outraged reaction

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Russia reacted with indignation at UNESCO’s inclusion of the typical Ukrainian “borscht” in the list of intangible cultural heritage under threat, a new “front” in the bilateral conflict.

Following the announcement by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Minister of Culture of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkatchenko commented on the Telegram social network that “Ukraine will win the Borscht war, just like this war,” referring to the armed conflict with Russia.

On the Russian side, Moscow diplomats almost immediately condemned the UNESCO decision, accusing the Ukrainians of appropriating the dish as a form of “modern nationalism.”

“It could be something in common, in which every city, every district, every owner of everyone cooks in his own way, but they [ucranianos] they didn’t want to compromise, and this is xenophobia, Nazism, extremism in all its manifestations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized.

“Hummus and rice for pilaf are recognized as national dishes in many countries,” Zakharova continued, “but “Ukrainization” concerns everything. What will happen next? Will pigs be recognized as a Ukrainian national product?” Zakharova joked on the Telegram social network.

borscht soup

Borsch, made from beets and meat, is a traditional soup usually served with plain or garlic bread, widely consumed in Ukraine as well as Russia.

Justifying the UNESCO decision, Pier Luigi Petrillo, a representative of the Ukrainian commission for evaluating the dossier, said that “it is not the very existence of this soup that is in danger, but the human and living heritage associated with“ borscht ”. … in imminent danger, given that the ability of the population to practice and transmit their intangible cultural heritage has been severely undermined by the armed conflict, in particular by the forced displacement of communities.”

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In mid-April, Ukraine filed for the soup to be added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Danger, arguing that the February 24 Russian invasion of the country and the months of bombing that followed had jeopardized the dish’s “viability”. tradition.

“The population is no longer able to cook or even grow the local vegetables needed to make borscht,” Petrillo commented.

“They can’t get together to practice making ‘borscht’, which jeopardizes social and cultural aspects. Thus, the transfer of this element is in jeopardy,” he continued.

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