According to The Economist, Russia’s growth has begun to threaten northern European countries. Sweden’s defense commission has recently warned that the country should prepare for a conflict in Europe. “A larger European conflict could start with an attack on Sweden,” the report warned. For the first time in nearly 30 years, the government has told millions of households to “prepare for the worst.”
Sweden hopes to hold out until help arrives as well as become “indigestible to Russia” as one analyst explained. In waiting for back-up to arrive, Sweden may embrace NATO more. While it is not a member country, it has a very close alliance with NATO. In 2016 a landmark “host nation” agreement between NATO and Sweden was passed through parliament. This is for both Sweden’s benefit and NATO’s, as NATO troops can more easily send back-up through Sweden.
Sweden has also embraced two of its neighbors, Finland and Norway. Sweden and Norway shared data on air surveillance, and Sweden and Finland have agreed to form a “partially integrated” Finnish-Swedish air force and a joint naval group.
“We are realising that Crimea was not a passing storm, but climate change,” says Anna Wieslander, director of the Swedish Defense Association. She is referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Over 2,000 Swedish troops will join one of NATO’s exercises next month.
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