Sweden‘s civil defence minister has warned his country could soon face the prospect of war and urged citizens to join voluntary defence organisations in preparation for a potential armed conflict.
In a rousing speech that took note of his country’s hotly anticipated accession to NATO this year and ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, Carl-Oskar Bohlin called on ordinary citizens to ask themselves ‘who are you if war comes?’.
Speaking at Sweden’s annual ‘Folk och Försvar’ (Society and Defence) conference in Sälen this past weekend, the minister said: ‘It is human to want to view life as you wish it was, rather than as it actually is.
‘For a nation for whom peace has been a pleasant companion for almost 210 years, the idea that it is an immovable constant is conveniently close at hand. But taking comfort in this conclusion has become more dangerous than it has been for a very long time,’ Bohlin said.
Sweden has not been involved in an armed conflict since a brief war with neighbour Norway in 1814 as the latter sought to establish its own constitution and parliament. it stayed neutral during WW2.
‘There could be war in Sweden… The world is facing a security outlook with greater risks than at any time since the end of the Second World War,’ the civil defence minister continued.
‘Are you a private individual? Have you considered whether you have time to join a voluntary defence organisation? If not: get moving!’ he declared.
‘He (Putin) won’t finish this (war), until we all finish him together,’ Zelensky said during a news conference in Vilnius, adding ‘Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova may be next’ if Ukraine did not withstand Russia’s onslaught.
Bohlin did not claim that the prospect of war is imminent in Sweden in his weekend speech.
But he stressed the current state of the world and rising tensions between East and West necessitated a response at all levels to ensure Swedish society would be prepared for any future conflict.