STOCKHOLM, March 2 Sweden's centre-left
government will decide on Thursday to reintroduce military
conscription next year, amid lingering difficulties filling the
ranks on a voluntary basis and a more uncertain security
situation, public broadcaster SR reported.
The Nordic country mothballed compulsory military service in
2010, but military activity in the Baltic region has increased
since, in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014,
prompting Sweden to step up military preparedness.
The decision to reintroduce the draft, following
recommendations by an official investigation, will cover both
men and women born in 1999 or later, though only a minority will
be selected to serve.
"We have had trouble staffing the military units on a
voluntary basis and that needs to be addressed somehow," Swedish
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told public service radio SR.
"Therefore it is necessary to reintroduce conscription."
The decision would entail the call-up of 4,000 men and women
for military training in 2018 and 2019, SR reported.
Sweden, which is not a NATO member, is upgrading its
military, with a sharp hike in spending, and has reassigned
troops to the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, besides urging local
governments to step up contingency planning for a future war.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)