Friday, 15 December, 2017

Sweden set to reintroduce conscription: broadcaster SR

Sweden brings back military conscription in face of growing Russia threat Sweden to bring back conscription amid tensions with Russia over Baltic military action
Howard Terry | 03 March, 2017, 00:34

The military service was abolished in 2010. It has never had a military draft for women.

Conscription will officially be reactivated on January 1, 2018. "In 2016 the armed forces lacked 1,000 active squad leaders, soldiers and sailors as well as 7,000 reservists".

There have also been reports of airspace violations by Russia's military aircraft in the Baltics and a military buildup in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which sits across the Baltic Sea from Sweden. The shortfall, estimated at 4,000 people annually, will further be compensated by the conscirption. "Therefore, it is necessary to reactivate conscription", Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish radio.

As a non-aligned country Sweden can not count on the protection of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but it has already tried to counter Russian aggression, stationing permanent troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland in September.

"It's very important to emphasise that military service is for girls and guys", Hultqvist said. The planned draft will draw not only from men, but also women, following in the footsteps of its NATO-aligned next door neighbor Norway, which has already instituted its own gender-neutral draft. Nordic neighbors Denmark and Norway are part of the alliance.

Conscription was introduced in Sweden in 1901, but had gradually wound down and was formally canceled 109 years later.

Although Finland and Sweden are not North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states, they retain strong military cooperation with the organization.

During the height of the Cold War, nearly 85 percent of Swedish men were conscripted, ABC reports.

The country's armed forces is planning to add 4,000 recruits a year in 2018 and 2019, the government said in a statement.

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