The Swedish government has announced that an additional 1.3 billion kronor will be invested in the military in response to increased Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea, The Local has reported. The financial pledge is in addition to the 3 billion kronor pledged in the election manifestos of all four parties which make up the ruling coalition, Alliance.
The promise comes amid intense infighting in Sweden over military funding, in which all parties, both ruling and opposition, have pledged to increase the military budget in light of Russian military activity in Ukraine.
Dagans Nyheter, a Swedish newspaper, is reporting that the new budget is intended specifically to increase Swedish military presence and activity in the Baltic region. It is felt necessary as increasing numbers of Russian ships and planes have been spotted in the region lately. The increased military budget will be offset by making savings elsewhere.
Alliance is a political grouping made up of four centre right parties. Sweden has a multiparty system in which coalitions are regularly formed to create governments. Alliance was formed whilst in opposition, but took power in the 2006 general election. The next Swedish general election is due to be held in just eleven days’ time.
So far, there is no specific threat to Sweden from Russia, although a Russian army chief has suggested that the country should change its military guidelines to include the possibility of pre-emptive nuclear missiles against Nato members.