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Sweden to boost defences after Russia’s Ukrainian invasion

Sweden warns of Russia threat on eve of NATO membership
Source: Pixabay

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Tuesday her government wanted to boost the country’s military capabilities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the “general threat level” had increased.

“Sweden’s defensive capabilities need to be strengthened, the rearmament needs to be brought forward,” Andersson said during a televised speech to the nation.

“Sweden should have a strong defence,” she said, announcing they would initiate talks for additional resources.

“We are not under a direct threat of an armed attack against Sweden, but the general threat level has increased,” she said.

After the end of the Cold War, Sweden slashed military spending. It was only after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 that parliament agreed on a turnaround.

Sweden reintroduced mandatory military service in 2017 and reopened its garrison on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea in January 2018.

In October, it bumped up defence spending by 40 percent with an extra 27 billion Swedish kronor ($2.8 billion, 2.5 billion euros) to be added to the defence budget from 2021 to 2025.

Sweden is not a NATO member, but cooperates closely with the alliance.

However, like in neighbouring Finland, the debate around NATO membership has been reignited in recent weeks.

According to a poll by public broadcaster SVT last Friday support for joining NATO is historically high in Sweden at 41 percent.

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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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