February 24, 2024

Young Swedes are prepared to fight if needed following the country’s Civil Defence minister urging people to ‘prepare for war’.

Sweden has not been involved in hostilities for 210 years but Carl-Oskar Bohlin said earlier this week the population should join volunteer defence groups.

He told citizens to ask themselves ‘who are you if war comes?’ in a rousing speech which some have dismissed as scaremongering as the country prepares to join NATO.

Sweden has had partial conscription since 2017 for both men and women and MailOnline spoke to a group of young people in central Stockholm about the possibility of war with Vladimir Putin‘s Russia.

The country is expected to join NATO by the end of July and the government has pledged to meet the organisation’s goal of 2 per cent GDP defence spending which is twice the usual amount.

Young Swedes are prepared to fight if needed following the country’s Civil Defence minister urging people to ‘prepare for war’. Pictured: A Swedish Combat Vehicle 9040A

Laura Matuzovic, (pictured) from Gnosjo, 17, told MailOnline 'if I have to protect my country then I will', despite the situation 'scaring me a bit'

Laura Matuzovic, (pictured) from Gnosjo, 17, told MailOnline ‘if I have to protect my country then I will’, despite the situation ‘scaring me a bit’ 

Yngue Ericsson, (pictured) a 27-year-old carpenter, said: 'Of course I would be prepared to fight for my country ¿ why wouldn't I?'

Yngue Ericsson, (pictured) a 27-year-old carpenter, said: ‘Of course I would be prepared to fight for my country – why wouldn’t I?’

Although the majority dismissed the idea military conflict was around the corner, all said they would be prepared to fight and defend their country if needed.

Sandwich shopworker Lukas Stahl, 25, from Sormland, said: ‘Personally, what the Minister said doesn’t worry me greatly, I’m not easily scared, and I can’t see any immediate threat.

‘At the same time, I agree that we should be prepared as a country and we don’t want to be caught sleeping but I’m not going to rush out and stock up on tinned food and batteries.

‘I am prepared to fight for my country if needed and although I wasn’t conscripted when I was younger I am ready to do my bit.

‘In Sweden you can be called into service up until the age of 30 so I have five years left and I am more than willing to protect our people.

‘Putin doesn’t scare me and Ukraine is a different case from Sweden. I can’t see Russia attacking us now as they have too many other things to worry about.’

Student Sonja Moberg, 19, from Stockholm said: ‘Girls can get conscripted as well and I had my tests last year but I didn’t get in, on medical reasons.

‘In fairness, giving me a gun is probably not a good idea but I have lots of girl friends who were conscripted and they really enjoy it – one is a truck driver and she is having a great time.

Sonja Moberg, 19, (pictured) from Stockholm, won't be conscripted due to 'medical reasons' and added she is 'not worried that we will be attacked but I think it is a good idea to be ready'

Sonja Moberg, 19, (pictured) from Stockholm, won’t be conscripted due to ‘medical reasons’ and added she is ‘not worried that we will be attacked but I think it is a good idea to be ready’

Sandwich shopworker Lukas Stahl, 25, (pictured) from Sormland, said the Minister's warning 'doesn't worry me greatly'. He said he is 'not easily scared' and 'can't see any immediate threat'

Sandwich shopworker Lukas Stahl, 25, (pictured) from Sormland, said the Minister’s warning ‘doesn’t worry me greatly’. He said he is ‘not easily scared’ and ‘can’t see any immediate threat’

Finnish soldiers perform war simulation exercises during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11, 2022 in the Stockholm archipelago

Finnish soldiers perform war simulation exercises during the Baltic Operations NATO military drills (Baltops 22) on June 11, 2022 in the Stockholm archipelago

A soldier of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflages an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

A soldier of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflages an armoured vehicle during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

‘I’m not worried that we will be attacked but I think it is a good idea to be ready, my father says we should be prepared and he’s probably more concerned than I am.

‘I can’t see Russia attacking us militarily because they have another war in Ukraine on their hands, but I can see them maybe going for the infrastructure, power or the internet.’

Dino Fors, 19, who was working in a convenience store, told MailOnline: ‘I’m not taking it too seriously. I really can’t see a war happening but of course I am ready to fight if needed.

‘I am the right age for conscription and the ideal candidate, but I haven’t been selected yet, although some of my friends have.

‘If I get called up then so be it, I will happily defend my country but like I say, I can’t see it happening anytime soon, and anyway they have to get through Finland first.

‘But I think Putin will be making a big mistake if he does attack Sweden as we have lots of powerful friends. I can’t see us being the next on his list.’

Carpenter Yngue Ericsson, 27, said: ‘Of course I would be prepared to fight for my country – why wouldn’t I?

Swedish and Finnish tanks are seen during a military exercise called "Cold Response 2022", gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Evenes, Norway, March 22, 2022

Swedish and Finnish tanks are seen during a military exercise called ‘Cold Response 2022’, gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Evenes, Norway, March 22, 2022

Swedish soldiers takes part in a military exercise called "Cold Response 2022", gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Evenes, Norway, March 22, 2022

Swedish soldiers takes part in a military exercise called ‘Cold Response 2022’, gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Evenes, Norway, March 22, 2022

A member of the Swedish Army drives a tank as Swedish Army armoured vehicles and tanks participate in a military exercise called "Cold Response 2022"

A member of the Swedish Army drives a tank as Swedish Army armoured vehicles and tanks participate in a military exercise called ‘Cold Response 2022’

Swedish army members drive infantry fighting vehicles as part of military exercise called "Cold Response 2022", gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Setermoen in the Arctic Circle

Swedish army members drive infantry fighting vehicles as part of military exercise called ‘Cold Response 2022’, gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Setermoen in the Arctic Circle

‘It’s good that we have been asked to be prepared and I think the fact we haven’t had war for more than 200 years can make you feel complacent.

‘You should fight if your freedom is threatened. Putin is just a bully and he deserves to be treated like one.

‘If the Russians come here, we will send them back in boxes. They will not find Sweden an easy pushover.’

Student Axel Magnusson, 17, from Gnosjo, who was with friends at an Ikea outlet having lunch, also said he would be prepared to fight if needed.

He said: ‘To be honest, they say this every couple of years, and they really ramped it up after Russia invaded Ukraine – but I would be willing to defend my country.

‘I’m 18 next year so will have to go through the conscript tests and could be selected, so I know that I could be involved in any action.

‘I really can’t see anything happening though because we have strong allies who will defend us and if Russia attacked it would be making a mistake – other NATO members would help.’

Pal Laura Matuzovic, from Gnosjo, 17, said: ‘I heard it and, like Axel says, we do hear this every year – and yes it scares me a little but I try to put it to the back of my mind.

Pictured left to right: Axel Magnusson, Laura Matuzovic, David Dujmovic and Benny Quan

Pictured left to right: Axel Magnusson, Laura Matuzovic, David Dujmovic and Benny Quan

Dino Fors, 19, (pictured) who works in a convenience store, told MailOnline: 'I'm not taking it too seriously. I really can't see a war happening but of course I am ready to fight if needed'

Dino Fors, 19, (pictured) who works in a convenience store, told MailOnline: ‘I’m not taking it too seriously. I really can’t see a war happening but of course I am ready to fight if needed’

Student Axel Magnusson, 17,  (pictured) from Gnosjo, who was with friends at an Ikea outlet having lunch, also said he would be prepared to fight if needed. He said: 'To be honest, they say this every couple of years, and they really ramped it up after Russia invaded Ukraine - but I would be willing to defend my country'

Student Axel Magnusson, 17,  (pictured) from Gnosjo, who was with friends at an Ikea outlet having lunch, also said he would be prepared to fight if needed. He said: ‘To be honest, they say this every couple of years, and they really ramped it up after Russia invaded Ukraine – but I would be willing to defend my country’

‘When you turn 18 in Sweden then you are obliged to go through the military tests to see if you are conscripted and I’m ready to do that later this year. If I have to protect my country then I will.’

David Dujmovic, 17, also from Gnosjo, said: ‘I think it has been hyped up a bit by the Minister and people will be panicking s a result, but I think we should be prepared.

‘You just don’t know what it going to happen and it’s better to be ready then not ready if something awful happens.

‘I can’t see Russia invading Sweden, as we have lots of other countries to protect us and they would have to go through Finland first.

‘Like the others here, I will be having the tests after my next birthday and if need be I will fight to protect my country. But I can’t see it happening and don’t see what Russia would gain from invading Sweden.’

Benny Quan, 17, was the only one to say he was afraid of Putin. He said: ‘I do worry about it and all this talk about possible war scares me and my family.

‘I try not to think about it but it’s hard – it’s always in the back of your mind – and I know next year I will have to do the military conscript tests.

‘If I was chosen to fight then I suppose I would have to but I can’t see my mum being very happy about it.’

The gunner on a camouflaged tracked carrier shoots his .50 machine gun during the Northern Wind exercise conducted by Swedish Army in cooperation with allied armies, in the north-eastern part of Sweden

The gunner on a camouflaged tracked carrier shoots his .50 machine gun during the Northern Wind exercise conducted by Swedish Army in cooperation with allied armies, in the north-eastern part of Sweden

Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage their armoured vehicles during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

Soldiers of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army camouflage their armoured vehicles during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

A soldier of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army walks past armoured vehicles during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

A soldier of the P18 Gotland Regiment of the Swedish Army walks past armoured vehicles during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022

Officials say that around 28,000 youngsters will be conscripted into the Swedish military this year – more than usual as there is a shortfall in numbers.

Per Andersen Helseth, of the Swedish Duty and Examination Board, said it was the highest number sine conscription was reintroduced in 2017 and the government is also using TikTok to highlight enlisting.

Those that have completed conscription and been approved to fight could be deployed for any potential military conflict. Failing to report is punishable by up to four years in jail.

Papers for those born in 2006 will begin to be sent out in March and conscription will run until April 2025.