SWEDEN embarks on its largest military build-up for decades after new defense bill on October 14.
Alarmed by mounting threats from Russia, Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist has warned that “an armed attack against Sweden cannot be ruled out”.
The threat from Russia prompts a bill to raise defence spending by 40% in five years.
If the new bill is passed, as is likely, the defence budget is set to rise by SKr27.5bn ($3.1bn) between 2021 and 2025, a 40% boost that will bring expenditure to around 1.5% of GDP—the highest level for 17 years.
The budget will pay for a 50% increase in the armed forces to 90,000 people, a new mechanised brigade and 72 artillery pieces, among others.
In recent years, Sweden has accused Russia of violating its airspace and waters several times, which has prompted Sweden to strengthen its ties with NATO, American and its Nordic neighbours.
“We’ve begun to rebuild a newer version of what we had during the cold war”, said Niklas Granholm of FOI, Sweden’s defence research agency.
“We are finally getting our house in order,” Mr Granholm added.
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