STOCKHOLM (Agencies): Swedish officials have warned their citizens to prepare for a potential war with Russia, amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

The statements were made at the Folk och Forsvar National Conference in Salen.

In a speech on Sunday, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom hailed his country’s expected membership in NATO as “the biggest change in Swedish security policy in more than 200 years”.

Billstrom warned that “Russia will constitute a serious threat to the security of Sweden and Europe for the foreseeable future”.

He added that Stockholm “must be realistic and assume – and be prepared for – a drawn-out confrontation”

Echoing the sentiment, Defense Minister Pal Jonson said, “war can also come to us,” claiming that Ukraine is acting as “Europe’s shield” in the conflict with Russia.

Last year, Sweden abandoned its longstanding policy of non-alignment in favor of joining NATO, citing Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which was launched in February 2022. The neighboring state of Finland opted for the same, joining NATO in April 20232. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced recently that 800 Swedish soldiers will be deployed in Latvia next year to reinforce the 2,000 Canada-led troops stationed there as part of the military bloc’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic states.

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