Britain pledges military help to Sweden, Finland if attacked

May 11, 2022, 5:33 AM | Updated: 12:46 pm

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks during a joint press announcement with Japan's Prime Mi...

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks during a joint press announcement with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (not pictured) at Kishida's official residence in Tokyo, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)

(Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)

HELSINKI (AP) — Britain pledged to come to the aid of Sweden and Finland, including with military support, if the two Nordic nations came under attack under security deals Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed Wednesday with his Swedish counterpart in Stockholm and the Finnish president in Helsinki.

Sweden and Finland are pondering whether to abandon their historic neutrality and join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Johnson said in a statement that Wednesday’s agreements will allow Britain, a major, nuclear-armed NATO member, “to cooperate with key Nordic partners and their armed forces, in all domains, including cyberspace.”

Sweden’s eastern neighbor Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) land border with Russia.

Wednesday’s agreements also cover closer collaboration on new technology and intelligence-gathering between Britain and the two Nordic countries. Johnson said he would offer to increase British military deployments to the region, including with air force, army and navy assets and personnel.

Wednesday’s agreements will “fortify northern Europe’s defenses, in the face of renewed threats,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that they are symbols “of the everlasting assurance between our nations.”

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

“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 party’s assistance,” Johnson told a joint news conference in Sweden with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

He called the war in Ukraine Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s bloodthirsty campaign against a sovereign nation.”

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

In Finland, Johnson held talks with President Sauli Niinisto, who has a significant role in the nation’s foreign and security policy decisions, at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. The Finnish head of state said Moscow could only blame itself should his nation of 5.5 million become a NATO member.

“You (Russia) caused this. Look at the mirror,” Niinisto said pointedly, “So in my thinking, this is quite simple, actually. We increase our security and we do not take it away from anybody. It is not a zero-sum game.”

The Kremlin has warned of “military and political repercussions” if Sweden and Finland decide to join NATO. Andersson said that Russia would increase its “military presence in this region if Sweden and, or, Finland sends in an application.”

Should they apply, there will be an interim period lasting from when an application has been handed in until all 30 NATO members’ parliaments have ratified it. The two Nordic countries are expected to announce their positions on NATO membership in the coming days.

“If Finland makes this historical step it is for the security of our own citizens,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told a news conference after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo Wednesday. “Joining NATO will strengthen the whole international community that stands for common values.”

Johnson met with Andersson in Harpsund, the country retreat of Swedish prime ministers, which is located about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Stockholm.

“In times of crisis, cooperation becomes even more important. And this applies not least for our international defense partnerships. And Sweden’s partnerships with the U.K. and with NATO have been crucial during these exceptional times,” Andersson said.

Britain is already present in the Baltic Sea areas with the Joint Expeditionary Force, which consists of 10 Northern European nations: the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

In 2017, Sweden and Finland joined the British-led military rapid reaction force, which is designed to be more flexible and respond more quickly than the larger NATO alliance. It uses NATO standards and doctrine, so it can operate in conjunction with NATO, the United Nations or other multinational coalitions. Fully operational since 2018, the force has held a number of exercises both independently and in cooperation with NATO.


Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark. Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Japan contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

5 hours ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

1 day ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

1 day ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

2 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

4 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Britain pledges military help to Sweden, Finland if attacked