Sweden likely has to spend more than 2% on defence, top commander says - Swedish Radio

FILE PHOTO: Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Micael Byden holds a news conference after the Swedish government announced it has decided to apply for NATO membership, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 16, 2022. TT News Agency/Claudio Bresciani via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The war in Ukraine and Sweden's move to join the NATO military alliance will lead to defence spending running higher than the 2% that parliament has decided on, the top commander of the country's armed forces told Swedish Radio on Friday.

Sweden is planning to reach the NATO target for defence expenditure of 2% of GDP by 2026, up from 1.2% in 2022, as the Nordic country scrambles to bolster its defence following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"The demand on us has increased. We need to invest in new infrastructure and we need more personnel," Supreme Commander Micael Byden told Swedish Radio. "In all likelihood we will need more than 2% of GDP," he said.

Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO earlier this year as a direct consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The two Nordic countries membership has been approved by 28 of NATO's 30 members.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard)

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