Sweden distributes 'be prepared for war' leaflets to homes

Sweden distributes 'be prepared for war' leaflets to homes
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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Amidst heightened geopolitical tension in the region, Sweden has revived its defence pamphlets in case an attack hits the Nordic country.


The Swedish government is dispatching brochures on how to prepare in the event of an attack to 4.8 million households in the Nordic country.

The pamphlet, If Crisis or War Comes, is meant to help Swedes prepare for any “serious accident, extreme weather, IT attack or military conflict” said the government body responsible for the creation of the leaflet.

The brochure — published by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) — explains how to secure food, water, heat, and communications supplies when public services are not working properly. There are dedicated sections on how to spot fake news, how to respond to alarm signals, and how to help Sweden’s defence forces.

"In Sweden, there is a duty to contribute to total defence, says the pamphlet. Everyone from the age of 16 to 70 can be called to assist in 'the event of a threat of war and war'."

Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
By its Swedish name Om krisen eller kriget kommerSwedish Civil Contingencies Agency

The 20-page pamphlet, which is illustrated with drawings of warplanes and tanks, also contains tips on the kinds of food people should stock in case of an attack, and reminds them to always have water bottles available as well as warm clothing and sleeping bags.

Such instructions have not been sent to Swedish citizens since the days of the Cold War, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has some countries on high alert, including Sweden.

“Even if Sweden is safer than most countries, threats do exist,” said MSB head Dan Eliasson to journalists during a press conference.

Stockholm has repeatedly referred to Russian aggression as being one of the reasons behind heightening security measures, like the introduction of conscription this year and the stationing of troops in the Swedish island of Gotland.

"The Swedish government believes that this information is important in the light of the deterioration in the security situation in the rest of the world," said the MSB's press release on why the brochure was being released now.

But to dispel any notion of fear towards a foreign threat, the leaflet sends a strong message: “If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”

Sweden hasn’t been at war with anyone for more than 200 years since its war with Norway in 1814.

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