(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s government is taking steps to reactivate civil conscription in the latest move to shore up its defense capabilities in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
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The Nordic country, which in May sought entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization together with neighboring Finland, is also ramping up the number of people who are called to serve in the armed forces after a 2017 decision to resurrect military conscription. Sweden has pledged to increase military spending to 2% of its gross domestic product, and it aims to almost double the number of conscripts to 10,000 by the next decade.
Now, the government will ask the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency to prepare education for people who would be asked to serve with municipal emergency services in the event of a military conflict, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at a news conference on Monday. The plan aims at bolstering civil defenses while also providing an option for conscripts who are unwilling to undergo military training.
“The experiences from Ukraine paint a very clear picture, as emergency services face severe pressure in their work to protect civilians,” Carl-Oskar Bohlin, minister for civil defense, said at the news conference. “Considering the security situation, this is an urgent measure to strengthen total defense capabilities.”
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