Russian attack 'against Sweden or its Allies cannot be ruled out'

Russian attack 'against Sweden or its Allies cannot be ruled out' Russian attack 'against Sweden or its Allies cannot be ruled out'
  • Sweden has beefed up its security policy amid concerns over the Russian threat

An armed attack by Russia against Sweden or its allies cannot be ruled out, Stockholm has warned in its newly published security strategy, which labels Moscow its biggest threat in the coming years.

Sweden has beefed up its national security policy amid concerns that led its army's supreme commander to warn Swedes that they had to 'mentally prepare for war.'

The new national security strategy was published today and extends until 2030.

The illegal invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's forces in 2022 prompted the Scandinavian nation to join NATO, ending more than two centuries of neutrality.

The seriousness of the Russian threat will depend on what happens next in the Ukraine war, Defence Minister Pal Jonson told a press briefing.

Russia's threshold for using military force is 'low', he said, adding that Moscow is 'ready to take major political and military risks.'

While Stockholm had shared a partnership with the alliance for 30 years, it only officially joined on March 7 - two years after its policy of military non-alignment changed following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In its new strategy, Sweden also stated it 'has also taken steps to protect its strategic assets,' particularly in the north.

In 2023, a Swedish mining group announced having discovered Europe's 'largest known deposit of rare earth elements' in Sweden's Arctic.

Sweden is one of the EU's biggest mining countries, making up more than 90 percent of the bloc's iron ore production.

Sweden's accession to NATO was hailed as a huge step forward in shoring up the bloc's eastern flank.

Troops joined the largest NATO exercises since the Cold War ended within hours of Sweden becoming part of the alliance.

Soldiers from Britain and the US have also been hosted on the country's territory as part of the extensive war games.

Strategically, beyond its long Baltic coastline, Sweden brings with it the island of Gotland which could play a central defensive role.

Just across the water Russia has its own vital outpost - the exclave of Kaliningrad, with the Baltic state seen as on the frontline if war were to erupt.

In January, Sweden's civil defence minister warned his country could face the prospect of war.

Carl-Oskar Bohlin urged citizens to join voluntary defence organisations in preparation for a potential armed conflict.

'There could be war in Sweden... The world is facing a security outlook with greater risks than at any time since the end of the Second World War,' the minister said at the time.

The latest warning comes on the eve of the three-day Nato summit in Washington, which will see western leaders seek to reassure Ukraine of the alliance's unwavering support.

The latest assault by Putin's forces on civilian targets in Ukraine this morning saw a supersonic missile slam into a children's hospital.

It was the biggest bombardment of Kyiv for several months, while several other cities were also hit, with dozens killed.

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