The Swedish government has decided to form a new regiment on Gotland. From the beginning the regiment will count 350 soldiers but that number is expected to grow successively, reports svt.se. The headquarters for the new regiment will be in Visby. This is the first establishment of a new regiment in Sweden since World War II.
The decision is effective from 2018, which is just over two weeks away. However, many of the soldiers are already present on the island. Since the last regiment on Gotland was closed in 2005 there have been different subunits on the island, and the new regiment is largely an attempt to streamline the leadership.
It is hard to overstate the strategic importance of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. For both surveillance and as a possible launching position for missiles Gotland is perfectly situated just 150 kilometers off the coast of Latvia. With one of Sweden’s new Patriot batteries (or an equivalent American one) positioned on the Island it is possible to control the airspace over much of the Baltic Sea. An invasion of Gotland would therefore be an obvious move by Russia in case of a war.