“Above all I think there is a misunderstanding about what Sweden needs to defend itself against,” Defence Minister Karin Enström told TV4 news channel.
“There is no direct threat to Sweden.”
Recent revelations in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper that Russian military aircraft have performed fly-bys in close proximity to the Swedish border has stoked the debate of whether Sweden’s defence capabilities are adequate.
A Good Friday military exercise saw Russian bombers fly past Gotska Sandön in the Baltic Sea, prompting Nato jets to set off to trail them while Sweden’s air force remained mute, according to SvD’s source.
The Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) have come under increased scrutiny since Supreme Commander Sverker Göransson said in January that Sweden could only defend itself for one week.
It coincided with the annual Swedish defence conference Folk och Försvar in the northern ski resort of Sälen, where high-profile guest speaker and Nato Secretery-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said there was no guarantee of help from the military alliance while Sweden chose to remain a non-member.
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Russia, Sweden’s main cold-war foe, was meanwhile treated to a satirical video where members of its military sang an Abba-inspired jab at the diminished Swedish military capacity. Featuring jokes about Sweden’s defence minister wearing a skirt, it was broadcast on national television.