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Strategic Swedish Island Likely To Reject Russian Request For Harbor Space

Sweden stationed permanent troops on Gotland island in the Baltic Sea in September following increased Russian military activities in the area.

Officials on the strategic Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea said they likely will turn down a Russian request to rent harbor space out of concern it could harm the country's security.

Russian energy giant Gazprom wants to store pipes on the island for the Nord Stream 2 undersea natural-gas pipeline, which will run from Russia to Germany.

An official decision on whether to rent space in the ports of Slite on Gotland and Karlshamn on the mainland is due on December 15.

Gazprom and the European Union, which imports one-third of its natural gas from Russia, agreed last year on the pipeline to run parallel to an existing pipeline for Nord Stream 1.

Recently, however, there has been growing opposition to the project amid hesitancy to make Europe more dependent on Russian energy.

Gotland is considered of strategic importance for military control of the Baltic Sea.

In September, Sweden stationed permanent troops on Gotland, in what the nonaligned country said was a signal to Russia following its increased military activity in the region and aggression against Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters