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UK signs deal pledging to defend Sweden if attacked

Sweden fears an assault from Russia in an interim interval if the nation applies to be part of NATO.

The United Kingdom has pledged to defend Sweden if the nation got here beneath assault, with Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Magdalena Andersson signing a safety assurance deal exterior Stockholm.

The accord was signed on Wednesday as Sweden and Finland are pondering whether or not to be part of NATO following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Andersson mentioned Russia would improve its “military presence in this region if Sweden and/or Finland sends in an application”.

Should they apply, there will probably be an interim interval lasting from when an software has been handed in till all 30 NATO members’ parliaments have ratified it.

Johnson is later anticipated to make an analogous defence dedication to Finland, the place he’ll meet President Sauli Niinisto.

The settlement will “fortify Northern Europe’s defences, in the face of renewed threats”, Johnson mentioned in a press release, including it “is a symbol of the everlasting assurance between our nations”.

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“These are not a short-term stop-gap, but a long-term commitment to bolster military ties and global stability, and fortify Europe’s defences for generations to come,” Johnson mentioned within the assertion.

Finland shares a 1,340km (830-mile) land border with Russia.

“And whether it’s in the event of a disaster or a military attack, what we’re saying today is that upon request from the other party, we would come to the other parties’ assistance,” Johnson advised a joint information convention. He mentioned the conflict in Ukraine is Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s bloodthirsty campaign against a sovereign nation”.

Andersson mentioned: “Putin thought he could cause division, but he has achieved the opposite. We stand here today more united than ever.”

British troop deployments

Johnson met Andersson in Harpsund, the nation retreat of Swedish prime ministers, which is positioned about 90km (55 miles) southwest of Stockholm.

Johnson, who mentioned Putin was “a 21st-century tyrant”, additionally provided throughout his one-day go to to improve the deployments of British troops and navy belongings to the area.

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The UK is already current within the Baltic Sea areas with the Joint Expeditionary Force, which consists of 10 Northern European nations: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway together with the UK.

In 2017, Sweden and Finland joined the British-led navy fast response power, which is designed to be extra versatile and reply faster than the bigger NATO alliance.

It makes use of NATO requirements and doctrine, so it will possibly function along side NATO, the UN or different multinational coalitions. Fully operational since 2018, the forces have held various workout routines independently and in cooperation with NATO.

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