From Local (Sweden):  Sweden should consider placing US-made Patriot missiles on the island of Gotland to help deter resurgent neighbour Russia, Sweden’s deputy prime minister has argued in a call for greater military spending.

"We’ve reduced our national defence capabilities for the last 20 years. Both the 2004 and 2009 defence resolutions totally focused on international missions," Jan Björklund, who is also the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) leader, said in an interview published on Sunday in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper. . . .

Currently, Sweden spends around 40 billion kronor ($6.2 billion) or 5 percent of GDP annually on "military defence", with an additional 3 to 4 billion devoted to "societal readiness. . . ."

Instead of recruiting professionals for six to eight years, soldiers could instead serve on active duty for two years before being placed on reserve for the next decade, he [Björklund] told SvD.

That would allow Sweden to have four to five brigades, around 30,000 soldiers, to protect Swedish territory.

Björklund also said Sweden needed better air defence and suggested that the government consider purchasing the US-made Patriot missile air-defence system and placing it on the Baltic island of Gotland.

Concerns about Russia were high on Björklund’s list of reasons for Sweden to rethink its defence budget.

"I don’t want to say they’re a threat today, but for the first time since the Cold War the Russians are substantially rearming," he told SvD.  (photo: Scanpix)