Over the next five years, Sweden will increase military spending by about 40% and double the number of people recruited to its armed forces as it aims to strengthen its defenses amid growing tensions with Russia, the government said.
The country, which is not a member of NATO but enjoys close ties to the alliance, withdrew its military forces after the Cold War to save money.
“We have a situation where the Russian side is ready to use military means to achieve political goals,”
Increased Russian activity in the Baltic Sea region has prompted Sweden to pursue a hasty rearmament program, including the purchase of Patriot missiles from the United States.
Last month, Stockholm protested against Moscow after two warships entered its territorial waters without permission and repeatedly complained about Russian military planes flying too close to its own planes and violating Swedish airspace.
The government said the military budget would be increased between 2021 and 2025 and would fund the expansion of military personnel to about 90,000 from 60,000 people, including a new mechanized brigade with updated artillery.
The Navy will receive an additional submarine, increasing the number to five, and the corvette fleet will be upgraded, while the army and air force will receive modernized weapon systems. In addition, the project will be expanded to 8,000 per year by 2025, up from 4,000 in 2019. Sweden terminated conscription in 2010, but reintroduced compulsory military service for a limited number of men and women in 2017.