Sweden’s Home Guard conducting largest exercises since 1975
Sweden is conducting its largest nationwide military exercises since 1975, in which 40 battalions and 22,000 reservists are taking part, The Local news outlet reported.
"The idea of these exercises is that we are now strengthening our military defense and increasing our operational capabilities," Swedish Supreme Commander Micael Bydén said.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Sweden, all 40 battalions of the Home Guard were mobilized for training, which means that the Swedes will see how the reservists carry out their duties and patrol the airports, ports and streets on the country’s National Day on Wednesday, June 6.
The exercises are part of Sweden's Home Guard efforts to restore the strategy of common defense from the times of the Cold War in response to Russia's growing aggression. The last time the Swedish Armed Forces attracted the Home Guard in full force was in 1975 at the peak of the Cold War.
In the event of an invasion, the Home Guard is responsible for protecting the basic functions of the Swedish state, protecting state institutions, airports and seaports so that the professional army is free to carry out front line duties.
A week ago, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency issued a booklet with information for citizens on how to behave in the event of war, natural disasters and cyberattacks. The booklet is called "If Crisis or War Comes" and advises making water supplies, and storing canned and dried foods and other necessary supplies to increase Sweden's resilience.
Last month, Sweden reinstated its military unit on the Baltic island of Gotland.