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Sweden releases updated booklet of war precautions in English

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Sweden releases updated booklet of war precautions in English
The "If Crisis Or War Comes" brochure. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
15:22 CEST+02:00
After 30 years Sweden has reissued a booklet of advice on how to cope with a potential outbreak of war, saying that climate change, IT attacks, terrorism and a worsening geopolitical situation mean it's time for a new version.

"If Crisis Or War Comes" is an update of the "If War Comes" booklet last released in the 1980s and first produced during the Second World War.

Compiled by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), it details examples of crisis scenarios that could occur in Sweden due to disruptions to IT systems, incidents in the rest of the world, or climate change, explaining how to be best prepared for a possible lack of food, water and communications networks.

The reissue comes against a backdrop of increased tension in the Baltic region in recent years, with fears escalating following Russian military action in Georgia and Ukraine. Other Swedish moves to strengthen defence include troops being permanently stationed on the island of Gotland, and a significant increase to Sweden's defence budget.

"In the event of a societal emergency, help will be provided first to those who need it most. The majority must be prepared to cope on their own for some time," the brochure warns ominously, adding that "water, food and warmth" as well as an ability to obtain information from authorities are the most important things in such a scenario.

The guide provides a checklist of foodstuffs and goods it's useful to have at home just in case, ranging from basic vegetables to long-lasting oat or soy milk, tinned protein like sardines or boiled meat, and items for providing warmth, access to communications, and for storing water.

The booklet also has a checklist to help Swedes be better prepared to cope with misleading information and influence operations, noting that "the best protection against false information and hostile propaganda is to critically appraise the source" by asking questions like "is this factual information or opinion?" and "who has put this out?".

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A screenshot from the new booklet. Photo: MSB

"We all have a responsibility for our country's safety and preparedness, so it's important for everyone to also have knowledge on how we can contribute if something serious occurs," MSB General Director Dan Eliasson said in a statement.

"Sweden is safer than many other countries but threats exist."

It may come as a surprise to learn that everyone living in Sweden has a "duty to contribute to total defence," which in practice means anyone aged between 16 and 70 can be asked to assist in various ways in the event of war or threat of war, the booklet explains.

That ranges from conscription to the Armed Forces, to civil conscription to government organizations, or being tasked by the Public Employment Agency with performing work deemed to be of particular importance to Sweden's overall defence.

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"If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false," the brochure insists.

The brochure is available in 13 languages including English and paper copies will be sent to 4.8 million households in Sweden between May 28th and June 3rd.

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