00:54 GMT +326 March 2019
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    Reservist soldiers Konrad Lindblad (L) and Par Thorhard stand guard outside the Stockholm Palace during a military training exercise in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 6, 2018, Sweden's national day

    Sweden Tests Military Reserve Readiness for First Time in Decades

    © AFP 2019 / Jonas EKSTROMER / TT News Agency
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Sweden has mobilized its Home Guard military reserve to test whether its ready to respond to emergencies for the first time in over 40 years, the Swedish Armed Forces said on Wednesday.

    "For the first time since 1975, the Armed Forces carry out an unannounced emergency readiness test of the entire Home Guard," the Swedish Armed Forces said.

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    The press service added that all of the 40 Home Guard battalions, which collectively comprise 22,000 volunteer soldiers, had been mobilized since late Tuesday for the exercise, which will continue throughout Wednesday's National Day holiday.

    "We have a duty to strengthen Sweden's defense and increase our operational capacity. This is a way to do so. This is a large exercise. We are testing the emergency system for almost half of our operational organization, which has not been done since 1975," Micael Byden, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, said as quoted in the press release.

    In late May, Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency distributed a leaflet "If Crisis or War Comes" to 4.8 million Swedish households to teach people how to behave in crisis situations — during terror attacks or in the event of war.

    The Swedish Home Guard, which is an integral part of the Armed Forces' operational force, was founded in 1939-1940. The service is expected to be on high alert to provide a rapid response within hours. The units are tasked with protecting, monitoring, and supporting society at times of crisis, thereby providing a national and territorial bulwark for the Swedish defense.


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