Swedish civilians in Stockholm were startled to see U.S. B-52 strategic bombers overfly the city at low altitude this morning on their way to exercises in the Baltics. The U.S. Air Force used the planned exercises in the Baltics as an opportunity to train with Swedish pilots, since the nation has recently gained candidate status in NATO.
The overflight of Sweden was historic for these strategic assets and their low altitude pass was likely indicative of messaging to the world that the Scandinavian countries were now fully under the umbrella of the alliance in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
In the last three months, the Russian Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry have signaled that diplomatic and military responses would be appropriate to the accession, going as far to declare that 12 new military bases would be established along the Russian-Finnish border by 2023.
However, the current war in Ukraine will most likely delay those plans well past 2025.