The Mystery Submarine Off Stockholm's Coast That Sweden's Trying To Identify Might Be Russian

Things got a little weird off the coast of Sweden on Monday. According to a report from BBC, the Swedish navy is searching for a mysterious submarine off the coast of Stockholm they believe may belong to Russia. The "foreign underseas vessel," which Sweden will not formally call a submarine, was detected about 18 miles off the coast. Russia has denied any unusual activity, pinning the blame on a submarine belonging to the Netherlands. However, representatives from The Hague have also denied having a submarine in the area.

So what's going on here? The BBC, largely using anonymous sources in its reporting, said that at least one person in the Swedish government believes Russia may be testing Sweden's response tactics. One source told the BBC:

It's always about testing the Swedish response to see if we are awake and able to detect it... it's a way of testing our skills in detecting and locating.

As an extra precaution, Sweden has closed airspace around the vessel and asked all civilian vessels to evacuate the area. BBC also reports the Swedish military intercepted a distress signal in Russian — which is making Russia's denial look pretty suspicious. If I'm being honest, it sounds like the Swedish military has pretty much made up its mind as to who might be responsible, but it has yet to confirm or deny it.

To make things even murkier, the LA Times reported a local Swedish newspaper was told by an intelligence expert that the vessel appeared to be an advanced Triton-NN mini-submarine.

This also isn't the only weird thing Russia has done in Swedish territory as of late. BBC also cited another Swedish newspaper, Expressen's report of two Russian bombers slipping into Sweden's airspace last month. Super weird and kind of scary, amirite?

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I'm not sure what Russia (or not Russia) could be up to, but it's evident Sweden is pretty nervous about the whole thing. They certainly feel their worrying is more than justified — the BBC reported Sweden's reaction has been their biggest mobilization since the Cold War, which is a pretty big deal by Sweden's standards. The best case scenario is that a Russian vessel lost its way and got into some trouble. The worst? Well, they can cross that terrifying bridge if they get to it.

Images: Flickr/Tailothebank, Getty