February 21, 2024

Swedes have been warned to brace for the possibility of war in the wake of their country’s anticipated NATO membership in 2024 and the backdrop of Russia‘s conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking at the Folk och Forsvar conference in Salen, Civil Defence Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin stressed the urgency of enhancing Sweden’s resilience, citing concerns over the sluggish modernisation of the civil defence system. Mr Bohlin urged a collective effort from all segments of society, emphasising the need for swift action.

“Many have said it before me, but let me say it with the force of my office – there could be a war in Sweden,” said Mr Bohlin,

Drawing parallels with Ukraine, which is facing a full-scale Russian invasion, Mr Bohlin commended their “total resilience” and stressed that a similar effort in Sweden requires widespread awareness and understanding of the situation.

In agreement with Mr Bohlin, Commander-in-Chief Micael Byden echoed the seriousness of the situation, urging individuals to prepare mentally. “This is a very serious situation, and the clarity yesterday was unmistakable. It is now about moving from words and understanding to action,” warned Mr Byden.

While acknowledging recent investments to bolster Sweden’s security, Mr Byden highlighted the importance of expedited NATO membership for further strengthening the country’s defence capabilities. “Hope is not a strategy on which to build plans, but hope must be there. It’s not all doom and gloom,” he added.

Reflecting on events in Ukraine, Mr Byden also urged citizens to consider their preparedness. “Look at the news from Ukraine and ask yourself the simple questions: If this happens here, am I prepared? What should I do? The more people who have thought, considered and prepared, the stronger our society will be,” he said.

In response to the escalating situation, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has been tasked with aiding essential authorities and companies in building their wartime organisation.

Additionally, the government aims to conduct an analysis to enhance the security of health product supplies.