SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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Sweden Re-Establishes Yet Another Cold War-Era Regiment

© AFP 2023 / Fabrizio Bensch Swedish armed forces soldiers attend a rehearsal in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden (File)
 Swedish armed forces soldiers attend a rehearsal in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.01.2022
After decades of reduction of personnel and budgets, Sweden is seeing a protracted build-up that includes a number of Cold War-era units re-established and the arrival of forces in formerly demilitarised areas.
Västernorrland's regiment (I 21), which was disbanded just over 20 years ago, has now been re-established, with solemn ceremonies held in the cities of Sollefteå and Östersund.
The regiment was inaugurated within Jämtland's field hunting corps in the presence of Prince Carl Philip on behalf of king Carl Gustaf XVI.
“I want to convey my warmest good wishes to all of you who will now organise and set up the regiment. On His Majesty the King's assignment, I hereby declare Västernorrland's regiment within Jämtland's field hunting corps, I 21, re-established”, Prince Carl Philip said in his inaugural speech.
Colonel Jonas Karlsson, the commander of the new regiment, emphasised that soldiers will be recruited locally, to create a popular anchorage and allow for a high level of preparedness in a strategically important region.
This is yet another step in the recent build-up. Last week, the Swedish Armed Forces said they were boosting preparedness in regions including the recently re-militarised Baltic island of Gotland, the country's largest Baltic island, citing Russia’s increased military activity in the area.
Military resources will be “reallocated to strengthen operations in several different places” across Sweden, with a “visible” change on Gotland, Michael Claesson, chief of operations at the Swedish military, said in a statement last week. Subsequently, footage of armoured combat vehicles patrolling the harbour of Visby on Gotland appeared on social media, spooking locals.
Following the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Swedish Armed Forces gradually thinned down from a bulky force meant to handle an invasion and instead re-focused on international efforts. This tendency manifested itself in both the extent of the military budget (which dropped from 2.4 percent of its GDP in 1990 to barely 1 percent in 2018) and the number of troops (from 180,000 in the 1980s to some 20,000 today). Furthermore, since 1990 the number of warships and fighter aircraft has been reduced by 70 percent.
Swedish armoured personnel carriers are seen in Visby harbour, island of Gotland, Sweden September 14, 2016. Picture taken September 14, 2016. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2022
Sweden Bolsters Gotland Patrols Amid NATO-Russia Tensions
However, in recent years, massive military allocations and build-ups have been railroaded through amid a slew of measures aimed to bolster the country's defence ability. In addition to a plethora of Cold War-era units being re-established, these also include boosting preparedness level and joint drills with strategic partners. Additionally, debates on the so-called “NATO option” for non-aligned Sweden have flared up anew.
Addressing the recent tensions between Russia and the West, the Russian president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Estonia's recent request to strengthen NATO's presence on its territory and Sweden's activity in the Baltic suggests that it is the West, and not Russia, that is escalating tensions in Europe.
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