The Nordic Reporter

Stories from Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltics

News in brief 2024Q1 – from Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltic States

NOTE: from 11 January 2024 I no longer publish news in brief, but only normal posts. On this page and two others I’ve kept the news in brief, which I started on 31 August 2023, after leaving the Twitter channel (renamed X) after 13 years and 10,000 posts. Check the menu tab News archives for more previous publications.

SWEDEN, 10 JAN 2024: Another busy weekend with shootings in Sweden. On Sunday 7 January a police officer was severely wounded, and the attacker shot and wounded by a police colleague, during a response in the city of Jönköping. The night before a man was shot and severely wounded in nearby Linköping. On Friday 5 January a man in his twenties was found shot and wounded in Malmö.

LATVIA, 10 JAN 2024: Latvia will create its own national oil reserves, step by step, the coming years. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Latvia has had national “reserves on paper” somewhere in Europe only, making the country less likely to fend off a real fuel crisis. The plan is to create multiple deposits spread across the country. Latvia did had some sort of reserves, but those were stored in the large tanks of oil companies, and were not part of a proper national plan.

ESTONIA, 7 JAN 2024: The Estonian armed forces received more Polish-made PPZR Piorun man-portable air defence systems, the Defence Ministry announced. Deployed by Ukrainian armed forces in combat, and operated by the Polish armed forces since 2019, Estonia is the third country that uses the Piorun, Polish for Thunderbolt. Once launched from the shoulder, the Piorun missile has an effective range to up to 8 kilometres (5 miles). The systems are made by Polish Mesko. The Estonian Defence Ministry says they are to deploy around high-value objects further away from the frontline, and that initially reservists will be trained with the so-called MANPADS. The deal comprises of 100 Poirun launchers and 300 missiles.

LITHUANIA, 6 JAN 2024: Russian language education is under fire in the Baltic states. Gintatuas Jakstas, the Lithuanian Education Minister, suggested on 5 January to “phase out” Russian language education. It is the mother tongue of at least 14,000 students in the country. Jakstas refers to Latvia and Estonia as example countries, where steps have already been taken to close down Russian-language education. “Schools should not use languages of unfriendly countries”, the Education Minister is quoted. Integration experts in other countries, like in Sweden, have discussed in the past many decades that depriving young people from their mother tongue language – or the language spoken by at least one of the parents – is counterproductive for society.

SWEDEN, 4 JAN 2024: Problems continue at the Forsmark-2 nuclear plant in Sweden. After a turbine failure, the capacity has been reduced to half its normal output. Despite the problems, Sweden is currently exporting a surplus of electricity, including to Finland, the country’s energy authorities say.

LITHUANIA, 3 JAN 2024: The Lithuanian Armed Forces will buy the Thales GM200 MM/C artillery radar system from the Netherlands, the country’s Defence Ministry has announced. The deal is worth EUR 126.7 million, including training of the radar specialists. The first units should arrive in Lithuania in 2026. The Thales GM200 is multifunctional, as it can also be used for air surveillance. It is already in use by the armed forces of the Netherlands and Norway.

LITHUANIA, 2 JAN 2024: The Lithuanian Armed Forces received the first batch of the Spanish-made Expal 120mm mortar systems, the country’s Defence Ministry has said. Worth EUR 9.8 billion, the mobile mortar systems have an effective range of up to 8 kilometres (5 miles) and are commonly used to support the infantry in battle.

DENMARK, 1 JAN 2024: Danish Queen Margrethe (83) steps down from the thrown on 14 January, the monarch has announced in her New Year’s speech. At that day she reigns for exactly 52 years. Danish crown prince Frederik (55) will succeed his mother as head of state of the Scandinavian country.

POLAND, 1 JAN 2024: A Russian missile has entered Polish airspace on Friday 29 December, Polish authorities have said. It flew 3 minutes through NATO skies on its way to Ukraine, where Russian forces have massively struck civilian areas at the end of the year.