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Sweden reintroduces military service

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By Catherine Hardy  with AP
Sweden reintroduces military service

The Swedish government is reintroducing compulsory military service for both men and women. Officials say it is because of what Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist calls a deteriorating security environment in Europe and around Sweden.

Under the plan approved on Thursday, at least 4,000 18-year-olds could be called up each year, starting 1 January.

The policy only applies to residents born after 1999.

It will still be possible to volunteer for military service in Sweden.

When did Sweden abolish compulsory military service?

In 2010.

At that point, only men were eligible.

The feeling was that there were enough volunteers to meet the region’s military needs.

Military build-up

In September, non-NATO member Sweden stationed permanent troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

Hultqvist described this as “sending a signal” after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its “increasing pressure” on the neighbouring Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.