Sweden says its biggest security threat is Russia

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Russia is the greatest security threat facing Sweden and its allies in the next several years, Stockholm said in a strategy outline published Monday.

Sweden has beefed up its national security policy, amid concerns that led its army’s supreme commander in January to warn Swedes that they had to “mentally prepare for war.”

“An armed attack against Sweden or its Allies cannot be ruled out,” said the new national security strategy, published Monday and extending until 2030.

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Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine led the Scandinavian nation to join NATO, ending more than two centuries of neutrality.

The seriousness of the Russian threat will depend on what happens next in the Ukraine war, Defense Minister Pal Jonson told a press briefing.

Russia’s threshold for using military force is “low,” he said, adding that Moscow is “ready to take major political and military risks.”

In its new strategy, Sweden stated it “has also taken steps to protect its strategic assets,” particularly in the north.

In January 2023, a Swedish mining group announced having discovered Europe’s “largest known deposit of rare earth elements” in Sweden’s Arctic.

The Nordic country aims to play a key role in Europe’s transition to green energy.

The European Union has agreed to phase out new CO2-emitting vehicles by 2035, effectively banning combustion engine cars, meaning the need for rare earth materials will only increase.

Chemical elements like neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium are crucial to the manufacture of wind turbines and electric cars, as well as consumer goods such as smartphones and computer screens.

Sweden is one of the EU’s biggest mining countries, making up more than 90 percent of the bloc’s iron ore production.

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