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Sweden Seeks to Up Defence Allotments to 2% of GDP Amid Warnings of Possible Attack

CC0 / / Ships at Berga navy base, Sweden
Ships at Berga navy base, Sweden - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
Sweden's plans to boost its defence budget to levels unseen in decades have been compared to massive Cold War-era defence investments in the 1950s.
The Swedish government plans to greatly strengthen the country's defence and increase the nation's defence budget to 2 percent of its GDP.

"We must reach that goal as soon as possible, and we must find stable long-term and solid financing", Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference, citing what she called a worsened security situation.

The increase entails an annual cost of SEK 108 billion ($11.1 billion) versus the current defence budget of SEK 66 billion ($6.8 billion), which corresponds to 1.26 percent of Sweden's GDP.

"It is an extremely large investment and it can only be compared with those during the 1950s", Defence Minister and Andersson's fellow Social Democrat Peter Hultqvist told national broadcaster SVT.

The Swedish defence budget has amounted to less than 2 percent of GDP since the late 1990s. According to Hultqvist, building it back up will take "many many years". No exact schedule has been provided so far.
"We want to implement this in a systematic and realistic and feasible way. We must get the maximum out of every krona we go in with", Hultqvist said.

Given the investment, more young people will need to do military service, Magdalena Andersson said.
Following a brief experiment of deactivating the military draft in 2010, Sweden resumed conscription, as it experienced personnel issues. Crimea's peaceful reunification with Russia, which Sweden and the West in general view as annexation, was cited as one of the reasons.
Sweden's Supreme Commander Micael Bydén said the military would welcome new budget allocations , but refused to set any time limits, instead stressing that every krona must have an effect.
At the same time, the armed forces made an assessment that an armed attack on Sweden cannot be ruled out and asked citizens for help in identifying any sabotage or intelligence operations on Swedish soil. The Navy additionally asked inhabitants of the Stockholm archipelago to keep an eye out for periscopes and unnatural waves, as well as film observations and report any suspicious findings, the newspaper Expressen reported.
This echoes the lengthy and painfully unsuccessful hunt for a "Russian submarine" Sweden conducted in the Stockholm archipelago in 2014, when the Swedish Navy mobilised amid a media panic. Several years later, a subsequent investigation established that the "submarine" appeared to be a faulty weather buoy.
Sweden's defence plans have been made public amid Moscow's operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine and protect the inhabitants of the People's Republics of Donbass, which Sweden portrays as "invasion". The special operation was launched by Moscow after Ukrainian attacks in Donbass prompted mass evacuations of civilians, forcing Donetsk and Lugansk to appeal to Russia for aid, with Moscow stressing emphatically that it harbours no occupation plans.
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