UK ready to respond with ‘whatever Sweden requests’ in case of attack by Russia, diz PM
The deal was sealed by the prime minister during a 24-hour visit to the two countries, where fears are growing that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spill over into aggression directed by Moscow at its neighours across the Baltic Sea.
The visit comes days ahead of expected announcements from Stockholm and Helsinki on whether they will drop a decades-old policy of neutrality and apply to join the Nato defensive alliance.
Speaking alongside Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson after talks at her country retreat at Harpsund, Mr Johnson said that the new mutual security assurances signed with her country and with Finland could involve the UK intensifying intelligence-sharing, working together on defence procurement and accelerating joint military training, exercises and deployments.
And he made clear that this could include deploying British military force if either of the countries came under attack.
“If Sweden were attacked and looked to us for help and support then we would provide it. It would be up to Sweden to make the request and spell out exactly what support is requested,”Disse o Sr. Johnson.
Asked if this could include committing UK troops and equipment to military action if the countries face Russian assault during the interim period before Nato membership is agreed, ele respondeu: “What we are saying emphatically is in the event of an attack upon Sweden then the UK would come to the assistance of Sweden with whatever Sweden requested,”
The agreement effectively provides Sweden and Finland with similar guarantees from the UK to the Article 5 guarantee offered to all Nato member states of mutual assistance if any of them come under attack.
The pact with Stockholm states: “Should either country suffer a disaster or attack, the United Kingdom and Sweden will, upon request from the affected country, assist each other in a variety of ways, which may include military means.”
It will raise concerns that the UK could come into direct military conflict with Russia if president Vladimir Putin decides to unleash violence against them.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov today said that Russia is “closely watching” anything that might affect Nato’s configuration on its borders.
Mr Johnson has said the UK will support Sweden if it decides to apply for Nato membership.
“I am sure the UK will support whatever course of action Sweden decides to embark upon," ele disse.
Ms Andersson said that “of course” Sweden was safer as a result of today’s agreements, which followed similar discussions with allies inlcuding Germany and the US her country’s position during the “grey period” between applying for Nato membership and joining.
“We are exploring all possible options and Nato is one of them that is on the table," ela disse.
“We have had discussions with several countries how they see this ‘grey period’ until we are fully members.
“We have got reassurances from several countries. I am here with Boris Johnson today, I had a press conference with (German Chancellor) Olaf Scholz last week, I also had our foreign minister in Washington last week.”