Sweden tells citizens how to prepare for war - for first time in 30 years

'If Crisis or War Comes' contains advice about where to find bomb shelters and how to secure basic necessities for survival

Samuel Osborne
Tuesday 22 May 2018 12:31 BST
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An aerial view shows the Russian nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoy moored on the eve of the the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia
An aerial view shows the Russian nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoy moored on the eve of the the Navy Day parade in Kronshtadt, a seaport town in the suburb of St. Petersburg, Russia (REUTERS/Anton Vaganov)

Sweden is sending an updated version of a Cold War-era advice booklet on how to cope with an outbreak of war to around 4.8 million households.

The 20-page pamphlet, titled "If Crisis or War Comes," contains advice about where to find bomb shelters and how to secure basic necessities such as food, clean water and heat.

It tells Swedes they have a duty to act if their country is threatened for "total defence," and was first published during the Second World War and subsequently during the Cold War.

"If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up," the booklet says. "All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false."

The guide is illustrated by pictures of soldiers supported by tanks, helicopters and the air force, as well as people fleeing disasters such as fires and exploding cars
The guide is illustrated by pictures of soldiers supported by tanks, helicopters and the air force, as well as people fleeing disasters such as fires and exploding cars (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency)

Sweden and other countries in the region are on high alert after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March 2014.

The Scandinavian nation has also accused Russia of repeated violations of their airspace, an assertion Moscow has either dismissed or ignored.

In 2016, the Swedish government started to increase military spending, reversing years of declines. The country is also debating joining the Nato military alliance.

It ordered a review of nuclear war shelters on the island of Gotland, where it has permanently stationed troops to prepare for a potential attack.

It also reintroduced military conscription for both men and women over concerns about increased military action in the Baltic region.

It tells Swedes they have a duty to act if their country is threatened for 'total defence'
It tells Swedes they have a duty to act if their country is threatened for 'total defence' (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency)

The pamphlet is about getting the country "better prepared" if public services were debilitated by accidents, climate change, cyber attacks or "in the worst-case scenario, war" according to the Civil Contingencies Agency.

The guide is illustrated by pictures of soldiers supported by tanks, helicopters and the air force, as well as people fleeing disasters such as fires and exploding cars.

It includes a checklist of emergency supplies homes should contain, including canned food, pasta and blankets.

Example foods include oat milk, tins of bolognese sauce and salmon balls, along with tortillas and sardines.

It includes a checklist of emergency supplies homes should contain
It includes a checklist of emergency supplies homes should contain (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency)

It also contains a section on how to identify fake news, which urges Swedes to "critically appraise the source" by asking questions such as "is this factual information or opinion?"

The document will be available to download in Swedish, English and more than a dozen languages.

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