Sweden to boost its military spending by 40%.
Image Credit: Joel Thungren/Försvarsmakten
On Thursday, the Swedish government announced that it will increase its military spending by 40% in the next 5 years, as well as double the number of conscripted soldiers, to strengthen its army as tensions with Russia increase. The country which is not a member of NATO, even though it enjoys good relations with it, has decreased its military size and spending since the Cold war. The Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said that the disarmament that started in the 2000s and lasted until 2015 was a mistake. Sweden ended conscription back in 2010, but than reintroduced it in 2017 for a limited number of people.
The Defense Minister, Peter Hultqvist told reporters,
We have a situation where the Russian side is willing to use military means to achieve political goals. Based on that, we have a new geo-political security situation to deal with.Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist
The Defense Minister also said that the increased spending would amount to $3.10 billion by 2025. Sweden has felt threatened over Russia’s activity in the Baltic Sea. Last month, the Swedish government protested to Russia, after two Russian warships entered Swedish territorial waters without any permission. Sweden also has to deal to constant violation of its airspace by Russian jets. Recently, Russia also sent a Su-27 fighter jet in response to a Swedish and US fighter that were in the international waters. Russia claims that the jets were approaching Russia’s border.
The Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist also said,
It is the largest increase in defence capability in 70 years. An armed attack on Sweden cannot be ruled out. This is the largest percentual increase in military spending since the 1950s.
The Swedish army will grow in size from the current 60,000 to 90,000 troops. The Swedish navy will acquire a new submarine, and their corvette fleet will be upgraded. The air force and army will also get upgraded systems. The Swedish intelligence expert Johan Wiktorin tweeted that the last there was a similiar increase in military preparedness, was when there was a coup in August 1991 in Soviet Union. The Baltic Sea is experiencing more activity, with both Russia and Western forces carrying out extensive military operations in the area.