Sweden's towns and villages have been ordered to make preparations for a possible military attack in the latest sign of the country's growing anxiety at its newly belligerent Russian neighbour.
The country's Civil Contingency Agency (MSB) last week sent a letter to local authorities across the country asking them to maintain operations centres in underground bunkers, ensure that a system of emergency sirens is in place, and to be open to cooperating on war exercises with the Swedish Armed Forces.
"In a state of war, civil defence for municipalities is no different from any of the other services they should provide," the letter read, instructing local governments to "ensure their ability to maintain their functions during disturbed situations, and at the most extreme, in a war scenario."
The dramatic call comes as Sweden returns to the Total Defence Strategy it maintained during the Cold War, reconstituting its old coastal anti-ship missile system, placing an armoured division on the exposed Baltic island of Gotland, and making plans to restart compulsory conscription as early as 2018.
"This strategy is not new. We used it during the Cold War and we are going to now strengthen coordination regarding civil defence," Magnus Dyberg-Ek, who is leading the civil defence operation for MSB, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
"What is new is that the security situation in our neighbourhood has worsened, and that we must therefore make preparations regarding the threat of war and conflict."
The letter said that the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) had agreed to oversee the preparations, and would work over the coming year with MSB and the Swedish Armed Forces to work out more details of municipalities' duties.
These include developing a plan to maintain and upgrade emergency bunkers across the country, many of which have been sold or allowed to fall into disrepair.
"Operations centres in bunkers need to continue to be held in ready reserve. In special cases, decommissioning or sale can take place, but first there must be a dialogue between MSB and the local region," the letter warned.
Sweden's government decided to bring back civil defence last year as part of its defence policy for 2016 to 2020.
"There is nothing to suggest that war is likely, but we have been given an order from the government to plan for it," Svante Werger, the press officer for MSB, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.
The letter has provoked complaints from some municipalities that they have insufficient information on what is required and have not been provided with the necessary funding.
Jonas Hult, head of Safety and Security for the city of Malmö, told Sydsvenskan that the city still had no plans on how to distribute protective masks, vaccines, or petrol, or on how to direct people to bunkers and shelters in the event of an attack.
"Increasing war-readiness costs money, and it's money municipalities do not have," he said. "It's unfortunate that the municipalities have been left in the lurch."
In 2013, the Russian air force conducted a mock nuclear strike against Sweden during war games which saw a contingent of Russian aircraft approach Swedish airspace after crossing the Gulf of Finland.
This was one of several examples of dummy nuclear attacks against Nato and its allies in recent years, according to a Nato report.
War games run by the Rand Corporation, a US defence think tank, have predicted the Russian army could be in the Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius in less than three days.
• This story was originally published at www.telegraph.co.uk