Swedish soldiers (AP Photo / Sameer Najafizada

Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Micael Buden considers the crisis caused by the situation around Ukraine to be an exceptionally serious one. Amid the general tensions, Sweden increased its combat readiness level, he said in an interview for Dagens Nyheter.

“We’ve brought our readiness in a accordance with the current situation. It is serious and it is concerning. Naturally, we are doing more now and are ready for faster action than usual. We are ready to various developments, including in direct proximity of our border,” Byden said.

A special attention is being paid to the strategically important island of Gotland, located in the Baltic Sea. In 2015, the parliament ruled to return armed to the island. Last year – amid the Russian military exercise – additional reinforcements were sent to the island.

“Amid the tensions in Ukraine and in Europe, it is necessary that our combat readiness measure also include Gotland and the Baltic Sea. We must be ready to act at various directions,” the commander said.

When asked if Sweden is ready to defend Gotland in case of an escalation, Byden answered in an affirmative.

“We do our business without causing any escalation. On the contrary, we are rather cooling down [the adversary] by showing that we are already in a start position,” he underscored.