HELSINKI — Sweden says it is establishing the nation’s first new military regiment since World War II — a unit of 350 soldiers that will be based on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

The Swedish government on Wednesday said the permanent unit will be deployed to the strategically important island’s main town, Visby, during 2018.

Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said the decision was made due to a “worsened security situation” in the Baltic Sea region, where Russia has increased military operations since its 2014 annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine involving Russian-backed separatists.

Hultqvist says the move means re-establishing Sweden’s military presence on the island that is popular with tourists.

Gotland, population 58,000, first housed an infantry regiment in 1886. The garrison was dismantled in 2005.

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