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Russia's actions lead to calls for stronger defence

Published måndag 3 mars 2014 kl 16.12
"A lot of indicators pointing the wrong way"
(5:46 min)
Should the Swedish military now get more money? Photo: Tobias Wallström /TT

Russia's actions in Ukraine over the weekend have led to calls for a strengthening of the Swedish defence. Peter Hultqvist, Social Democratic chairman of the parliamentary defence committee, tells the news agency TT that Russia's actions confirm the need to strengthen Sweden's military presence on the Baltic island of Gotland.

And the Centre Party's representative of the committee, Staffan Danielsson, says the development "ought to" be an argument for a bigger Swedish defence budget, which he claims makes up a smaller part of GDP than in other Nordic countries.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt tells TT that Russia's intervention may mean that the transformation of the Swedish Armed Forces is speeded up, and possibly to more money for defence.

"It is clear that we now have as powerful neighbour which is behaving in an unpredictable way and not according to the international structures that we have built up after the Cold War. This unpredictability creates uncertainty in our vicinity and you have to take that as a starting point," Reinfeldt told TT.

In 2009, the conscript army was replaced by an professional army in Sweden. A parliamentary committee's cross-party review of the armed forces is currently underway, to look ahead what should happen after 2015. The parliamentary committee's analysis will be presented later this month.

Johan Wiktorin of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences told Radio Sweden that Russia's intervention in Ukraine "challenges the premises for the decision in 2009, where there was a vision that the Swedish armed forces would be used mostly for international operations".

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