Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has reaffirmed the red-green government’s commitment to the defense of the Swedish island of Gotland and the country’s overall security.
“We’re determined to defend Swedish territory, defend Gotland, and show our capability to do so,” Löfven told Swedish Radio, shortly after arriving on the island of Gotland earlier this week, on a flight escorted by two Gripen fighter planes.
“It’s important for us to show our capabilities and show our determination to potential aggressors (that an attack) will prove very costly,” he added.
During the visit, Löfven met the two Gripen pilots and sat in the cockpit of one of the aircraft. He later took the controls of a Swedish tank.
Extra funding and mandatory military service
Sweden’s military, along with its police and security services, were allocated an extra SEK 1.2 billion in the government’s spring budget proposal announced on Wednesday.
Sweden recently announced plans to re-introduce mandatory military service, after having phased it out in the 2000s.
Though Sweden is not a member of NATO, it has been seeking to improve its defense capabilities following a series of incidents believed to involve Russian forces.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canadian Army Exercise ARCTIC BISON 2017 challenged by winter thaw, Radio Canada International
Norway: Norway kicks off military exercise in the North, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: FSB prepares to counteract nuclear terrorism in Murmansk region, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Mandatory military service to be reinstated in Sweden, Radio Sweden
United States: Russian bombers spotted outside Alaska…again, Alaska Public Radio Network