UK guarantees security for Sweden and Finland as part of NATO membership

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The UK will provide military aid to Sweden or Finland if those countries are attacked during the transition period to NATO membership, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday after a visit to Sweden. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have been considering joining the NATO military alliance. However, there are fears of possible retaliation from Russia.

The entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO would be a historic turning point for the Scandinavian region and would fundamentally change the military balance in Europe. On May 12, Finland will formally decide whether to apply for membership and Sweden will make that decision on May 13, the news agency reported. Reuters Tuesday.

Before countries formally belong to NATO, there is a transition period. During this transition period, the two countries are not yet protected by Article 5 of NATO. It stipulates that an attack against one of the NATO countries is considered an attack against all member states.

With the agreement the two countries signed on Wednesday, the UK wants to offer that protection. The countries themselves should ask for help. According to Johnson, it could also mean the deployment of British soldiers. The UK and the two Scandinavian countries also agreed to increase intelligence sharing and step up military cooperation.

UK behind NATO membership

“The war in Ukraine is forcing us to make tough decisions,” Johnson told a news conference in Sweden. “But sovereign countries must be free to make decisions without fear or threat of retaliation. It shows that we will support and defend each other.”

Johnson also expressed support for Sweden joining NATO. Later in the day, he will travel to Finland, with which the United Kingdom will conclude the same agreement.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it was monitoring developments on the country’s borders. Moscow had previously warned of “military and political consequences” if the Swedes and Finns apply for membership.

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