Russia’s threat prompts Sweden to introduce draft
In an effort to successfully address growing threat from the Russia of Vladimir Putin Sweden has decided to reintroduce military draft for both men and women.
Deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden prompted Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist to make this decision.
“We have had trouble staffing the military units on a voluntary basis and that needs to be addressed somehow,” Mr Hultqvist told public service radio SR.
Under the new law, at least 4000 men and women of 18 years old could be called up to army each year, beginning from January.
The government’s decision entails the call-up of 4,000 men and women for military training in 2018 and 2019, and Mr Hultqvist told SR motivation would be an important factor when selecting the recruits for service.
“We have a Russian annexation of Crimea, we have the aggression in Ukraine, we have more exercise activities in our neighborhood. So we have decided to build a stronger national defense,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told Reuters.
“The decision to activate conscription is part of that.”
Military service was the norm for young Swedish men during the Cold War but conscription was gradually watered down after the collapse of the Soviet Union as war in the region looked increasingly unlikely.
Sweden, which is not a Nato member, is currently in the process of upgrading its military with a sharp hike in spending, and has reassigned troops to the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, besides urging local governments to step up contingency planning for a future war.
(SR radio,Reuters, pht)