Sweden is increasing its military presence in the country’s northern areas in response to Russia’s growing defense footprint in the Arctic region, according to Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson.
At the Warsaw Security Forum on Wednesday, Jonson bared that his country is also expanding on existing defense collaborations with Norway and Finland to bolster response measures against the threat of Russia. He said a collaborative effort would establish an integrated missile and air defense system for the three nations, which would likewise boost NATO’s defense capabilities in the region, Breaking Defense reported.
According to the minister, Russia has already recaptured positions it previously held in the Arctic. He described Russia’s maneuverings as “a degree of militarization” that Sweden needs to address.
He also warned that while Moscow’s ground forces have suffered significant losses in Ukraine, it still boasts formidable air and naval assets in the Arctic.
Jonson’s statement aligns with Sweden’s plan of surging its defense budget by 30 percent in 2024. The Nordic country announced in September 2022 that it will allocate an additional $2.4 billion for military spending next year, the report added.
The planned defense buildup in the Arctic echoes an earlier appeal from Gen. Micael Bydén, Sweden’s supreme military commander, for the deployment of a detachment north of the country for infrastructure and logistics support.