Even though it is not a NATO member, Sweden maintains close relations with the alliance and most member states. Since the end of the Cold War, however, the Swedish military has seen a steady decline in both funding and personnel, with governments seeking to save money for use in various other areas of public policy, The Guardian reports.
“We are facing a situation where Russia is ready to use military means to achieve its political goals. As a result, we have a new geopolitical security situation that we have to deal with, “said Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultgvist on Thursday. He added that the proposed measures would increase Sweden’s military budget to 27.5 billion kroner (about $ 3.1 billion) by 2025.
Russia’s recent actions in the Baltic Sea region have prompted the Swedish state to quickly embark on a rearmament program, including buying Patriot missiles from the United States. Last month, Stockholm harshly criticized Moscow after two warships belonging to Russian naval forces entered Swedish territorial waters. In other cases, Sweden has complained that Russia’s military aircraft are approaching dangerously close to its own aircraft and entering Swedish airspace without permission.
Sweden’s plan for the endowment of the armed forces will run from 2021 to 2025 – targets include increasing military personnel from about 60,000 to 90,000 and setting up a new mechanized brigade with state-of-the-art artillery. In addition, the naval forces will be equipped with a new submarine (bringing the total number to five) and the corvette fleet will be upgraded. Moreover, compulsory recruitment will be expanded from 4,000 people (2019) to 8,000 people by 2025. Sweden gave up compulsory military service for all citizens in 2010, but reintroduced an amended form in 2017, only part of the population, both men and women, may be forced to enlist.