UK makes agreements with Sweden and Finland to strengthen European security

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he has made new agreements with Sweden and Finland to bolster European security, pledging to support the armed forces of both countries if they are attacked.

The agreements, described by Britain as “a sea change in defense and security cooperation”, will go some way to allaying fears in Finland and Sweden about threats made by Russia if either nation decides to join NATO.

“What we are saying emphatically is that in the event of a disaster or an attack on Sweden, the UK would come to Sweden’s aid with whatever Sweden requested,” Johnson said after meeting with the Swedish prime minister. Magdalena Andersson.

Johnson did not say whether Britain would send troops to Sweden in the event of an attack. “It is up to Sweden to make the request and specify exactly what support is requested,” he said. He was supposed to travel to Finland later in the day.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced a rethinking of how Sweden and neighboring Finland protect national security. Both are expected to join NATO, but both are concerned about the vulnerability as their requests are processed, which could take up to a year.

“Are we safer with this statement? Yes,” Andersson told reporters in an interview with Johnson at the Swedish government’s rural retreat south of Stockholm. “Support will be given at the request of the affected country and may include military resources.”

Sweden and Finland also received guarantees of support from the United States and Germany. The British statement said the new agreements would intensify intelligence sharing and accelerate joint military training, exercises and deployments.

Sweden and Finland already have close ties to Britain and are part of the Joint Expeditionary Force, a multinational military group focused on security in the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea regions.

But the war in Ukraine has heightened fears in Stockholm and Helsinki that the bilateral agreements do not replace Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which guarantees that an attack on one member state would be considered an attack on all.

Sweden is coordinating with Finland on possible NATO membership and both countries are expected to announce their intentions in the coming days.
“If Finland takes this historic step, it’s for the safety of our own citizens,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said during a visit to Japan on Wednesday.

“Joining NATO would strengthen the entire international community and uphold our common values.”

(Posted by Ingrid Alfaya)

Source: CNN Brasil

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