Finland and Sweden take turns in hosting the event. This year, the Swedish Navy is playing host and has joined forces with Finland's navy in a ten-day long military exercise to practice cooperation and mutual aid. Next year, both countries plan to establish a joint Swedish-Finnish battlegroup to be deployed in the event of war.
An important goal of the exercise is to make sure that communication and procedures function well: the mixed personnel will consist of an equal number of Swedish and Finnish officers, Swedish news outlet Hela Gotland wrote.
Kansallinen arviontikurssi toteutetaan #SWEFINEX-16 harjoituksessa kv-yhteistyönä Naton ja Ruotsin kanssa #OCC E&F pic.twitter.com/0UDctVto8o— Merivoimat (@Navyfi) May 17, 2016
Last year, Sweden decided to position troops on Gotland in the Baltic Sea, which lies halfway between mainland Sweden and Latvia, to strengthen the "weakest link" in the country's naval defense. Shortly thereafter, a local Gotland politician voiced plans to mine the island's harbors so that it could fend off an imaginary attack by Russians. In the same vein, Gotland's governor Cecilia Schelin-Seidegård stressed the island could potentially be used as a key place from which to fire upon invading Russian troops, if Russia were ever to decide to take over the Baltics.
In 2014, Swedish authorities imagined that a Russian submarine was lurking in the waters around Gotland Island. The ensuing media hysteria, which was based on grainy photographs reminiscent of 'evidence' of nearby Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, resulted in the Swedish government finally admitting that the panic had all been for nothing.
SwAF #Gripen from F 17 to participate in maritime Ex #SWEFINEX — In Swedish https://t.co/Yk7BmVnsNg #Gotland #balticsea— Gripen News (@GripenNews) May 13, 2016