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Armed attack against Sweden ‘not excluded’: military

Sweden warns of Russia threat on eve of NATO membership
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A military attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a report by the Swedish military said Monday, stressing the importance of its swift entry into NATO.

The report entitled “Serious Times” did not single out Moscow for instigating a potential attack but rather said Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s mounting influence in Asia and the world were responsible for rising insecurity.

“An armed attack against Sweden cannot be excluded,” the report said.

Russia is engaged in a “lengthy conflict with the entire Western world,” Hans Wallmark, a conservative MP who headed the commission that wrote the report, told reporters.

The commission, made up of experts and politicians across the political spectrum, said Sweden’s security would be “best defended in NATO”.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasing territorial claims show that the use of military might in conflicts over territory is once again a reality”.

Sweden’s security policy is therefore undergoing historic changes, the authors wrote.

While Sweden has already drastically ramped up its military readiness, more is needed, Peter Hultqvist, a member of the commission and former defence minister, told reporters.

He said the country needed a “bigger army” by 2025-2030, including at least 10,000 conscripts per year, up from the current level of around 5,000 to 6,000.

Sweden has since June 2022 been a NATO “invitee”, ending two centuries of military non-alignment.

But its membership has been blocked by Hungary and Turkey, the only members of the Alliance yet to ratify its bid.

Only full members are covered by NATO’s Article 5 collective defence clause, under which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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