Sweden's civil protection agency organized under the Ministry of Defense has issued an offical letter to country's local authorities to prepare for a possible war with Russia. The US has started moving tanks to a storage facility in the Netherlands in a bid to “deter” Russia, amid the biggest NATO buildup in Europe since the Cold War.
"Swedish municipalities are instructed to cooperate on war exercises with the Swedish army, to prepare for evacuation to underground bunkers and maintain a system of alarm sirens", Russia Insider reports.
Jonas Hult, head of Safety and Security for the city of Malmö, told Sydsvenskan that the city still had no plans on how to distribute protective masks, vaccines, or petrol, or on how to direct people to bunkers and shelters in the event of an attack.
“Increasing war-readiness costs money, and it’s money municipalities do not have, it’s unfortunate that the municipalities have been left in the lurch.”
Magnus Dyberg-Ek, of the MSB, told SvD the letter had been sent out in response to an increased threat level. “What is new is that the security situation in our region has deteriorated and that therefore we must prepare ourselves in terms of war and of conflict," he said.
“We have sent out the letter in part because local authorities want clear instructions so that they know how to act in a crisis situation. This strategy is not new – we used it during the Cold War and will now strengthen coordination regarding civil defence," he said.
When the measures were first approved last year, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven described the security situation as having deteriorated, attributing this explicitly to the threat posed by Russia. "Russian aggression and the destabilisation of Ukraine pose the most serious challenge to the European security order since the end of the Cold War," he told the Swedish parliament.
US to ship 1,600 tanks to Dutch arms depot in ‘clear message’ to Russia
A total of 1,600 vehicles are due to be stored at a six-warehouse complex in the southeastern village of Eygelshoven, near the Belgian and German borders. The Eygelshoven facility was originally opened in 1985 during the Cold War, when it was used by US troops to practice drills in case of a possible Soviet attack, wrote RT News on Thursday.
Abrams Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin artillery have already started arriving in what is part of a $3.4 billion Congress-approved scheme to increase NATO military capability in Europe. Storage sites are also planned to be reopened in Poland, Belgium and Germany.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, which was approved by Congress on December 8 but has yet to be signed by Barack Obama, approved a $3.4 billion spending plan to boost European defenses. The Baltic states, as well as Poland, have said they have been greatly alarmed by the crisis in Ukraine and fear “Russian aggression” on their territories.
“When visiting the Baltic states, I experienced this for myself. Standing there, near the Russian border, you could feel the tense atmosphere,” said General Tom Middendorp, the Dutch chief of defense. "But the Russian military activities are not just a concern for our eastern allies. They are a concern for all of us. We are taking proportionate and measured steps to defend our alliance. We want to make sure we are sending a clear signal to Russia that we will not accept any violation of NATO’s territorial integrity, General added.”
DONi News Agency