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Dutch Vessels Left Swedish Waters Before Alleged Submarine Sighting: Navy Spokesperson

According to the Royal Netherlands Navy’s head of communications, the Dutch naval vessels that visited Stockholm last week have left the Swedish territorial waters by the time the alleged foreign submarine was sighted.

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - The alleged foreign submarine first observed in the Stockholm archipelago on Friday could not belong to the Dutch Navy, as its vessels left Swedish waters on Thursday, the Royal Netherlands Navy’s head of communications Karen Loos-Gelijns told RIA Novosti Monday.

“This month five naval ships from the Royal Netherlands Navy participated in the international exercise Northern Archer in the Baltic Sea. One of these ships is [submarine] HNLMS Bruinvis. The weekend of October 11 the ships visited Stockholm and spent the weekend there. After the weekend they exercised together with the Swedish Navy. This ended on Thursday afternoon, after which our ships set sail to Tallinn, Estonia, where they arrived on Friday morning,” Loos-Gelijns told RIA Novosti in an e-mail correspondence.

According to Loos-Gelijns, the alleged submarine near Stockholm could not have been the Bruinvis, as it “was no longer in Swedish waters on Friday but was in Tallinn, Estonia”.

The Dutch ships stayed in Tallinn over the weekend and are now in transit back to the Netherlands, she said.

The Swedish Armed Forces first launched a major operation off the coast of Stockholm on Friday after receiving information, reportedly from a civilian, about the presence of an unknown underwater object in the region.

Earlier on Monday, a Russian Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti that the unidentified object, suspected to be a foreign submarine, could belong to the Dutch Navy.

Earlier media reports suggested that the object sought by Sweden could be a damaged Russian submarine. A spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry denied the claims on Sunday, stating that "there have been no extraordinary, let alone emergency situations involving Russian military vessels".

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