The Netherlands has denied a Russian claim that a mysterious “foreign vessel” photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch.
The Swedish military says it made three sightings of "foreign undersea activity" in the past few days, amid media reports of a suspected Russian intrusion in the area.
Swedish Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said the armed forces were carrying out an intelligence operation to observe underwater activity in the Stockholm archipelago area, but declined to give details. Speaking to reporters, he said he would not speculate about the sightings.
"It could be a submarine, or a smaller submarine. It could be a diver using some form of moped-like underwater vehicle and it could be divers who do not have any business on our territory. That is where I think you have the span of what could be foreign underwater activity,'' said Grenstad.
The Russian defense ministry said earlier Monday the vessel could be a Dutch submarine, the "Bruinvis," which had participated in military exercises off the coast of Sweden.
But the Dutch defense ministry replied the submarine was no longer in the area when the mystery vessel was sighted.
The Swedish armed forces published a picture taken by an amateur photographer of a submerged object in the waters near Stockholm.
The Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported on Saturday that a Russian emergency transmission had been intercepted indicating a Russian U-boat might be in trouble around islands off Stockholm. The Swedish military said Sunday, though, it could not determine the nationality of the vessel.
Russian officials denied any of their vessels was in trouble in the region.