Of the 184 people who responded to The Local’s survey, a full 23 percent said they would even be willing to defend their adopted country, in “a combat role which puts your life at risk”, while 16.7 percent said they would be willing to risk their life for the country, but only in a non-combat role.
“I would gladly fight for this country and its citizens and residents,” said Edith Betancourt, a reader from Mexico. “Sweden welcomed me when I needed to find finally a place to call home.”
Under the Sweden’s total defence law, everyone aged 16-70 living in Sweden has a legal duty to help defend the country, even if they are not Swedish citizens, although only Swedish citizens can join the volunteer Home Guard.
It is important to underline the fact that the current risk of invasion is low. Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stressed in her address to the nation last week that there was no “immediate threat of an armed attack” against Sweden.
In addition, Swedish military strategists argue that with most of Russia’s army now fully engaged in Ukraine, an attack would be almost impossible.
Others were less enthusiastic, however, with many admitting that they planned to leave the country as soon as possible if they felt there was a real risk of attack.
“We’ve had a discussion about what we would do if there was a threat present,” said one American respondent with a Swedish live-in boyfriend. “I would go back to the States immediately, but he’d likely stay here. It’s not an optimal set up, but I don’t LOVE Sweden. I’m not willing to die for a country I don’t feel particularly welcome in.”
A further 35 percent of respondents said they would be willing to defend Sweden in “a non-combat role which does not put your life at risk”.
When the Swedish Defence Research Agency carried out a survey of 2,200 Swedish residents for Statistics Sweden, they found that 84 percent would be willing to help defend the country.
Some 49 percent willing to do so in a combat role that risked their lives, and 77 percent in a non-combat role that risked their lives.