Sweden to Deepen Military Cooperation With UK, Citing Russia as 'Only Threat'

Swedish soldiers - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
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The fictitious “Russian threat” has been frequently used by the Swedish top brass and leading politicians as a pretext to bolster military allocations. During the years 2021-2025 alone, the military budget will gradually increase by almost $3.1 billion, an increase of about 45 percent compared with 2020.
During a joint visit to the military base in Arvidjaur in northern Sweden, Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and his UK counterpart Ben Wallace have called for deeper military cooperation in the future. Stockholm reinstated Norrland Dragoon Regiment K4 at the base earlier this year, citing “the Russian threat”.
According to the 2016 military cooperation agreement between Sweden and the UK, British soldiers may undergo winter training in Arvidsjaur and participate in the Swedish military drills.
Peter Hultqvist emphasised the importance of joint drills, which according to him, “send security policy signals” about existing cooperation to be developed further. Furthermore, Hultqvist ventured that it was crucial to deepen exercise activities and interoperability between the countries' armies.

“It means being able to cooperate in a potential real crisis situation. This is about military crises where you need military force to deal with them, but it is also about prevention so that those situations don't arise in the first place,” Hultqvist said, as quoted by national broadcaster SVT.
According to Peter Hultqvist, Sweden has no other military threats against it other than from Russia. Remarkably, the country reinstated the K4 regiment itself earlier this autumn alongside a slew of other military units, citing a deteriorated security situation and a “sweeping build-up from Russia”.

“The whole security policy situation over time has deteriorated through the protracted conflict in Ukraine and through what is happening in Belarus. It affects the overall security situation in our part of Europe. Part of the Swedish strategy is to deepen cooperation with neighbours and countries that have similar values ​​as us, and the UK is one of them,” Hultqvist said.

Sweden currently cooperates with its Nordic neighbours, the Baltic states, France, the UK and the US within the framework of NATO, despite formally retaining its non-alignment policy.
Sweden has also boosted its military allocations, while exploiting the image of Russia as a threat. During the years 2021-2025, the military budget will gradually increase by almost SEK 28 billion ($3.1 billion), which is an increase of just over 45 percent compared with 2020, as emphasised by former Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in his speech dedicated to reinstatement of K4; he cited Russia's “build-up” as one of the underlying reasons.
Earlier this year, the Russian Embassy in Sweden lamented that Stockholm “is not inclined to deviate from the chosen confrontational course towards our Russia and doesn't seek ways to improve bilateral cooperation”.
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