British PM Boris Johnson on Wednesday said he had agreed to new deals with Sweden and Finland to bolster European security, pledging to support both countries’ armed forces should they come under attack.
Johnson signed the new declarations, described by Britain as “a step-change in defence and security cooperation”, during visits to both Sweden and Finland on Wednesday. “What it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance,” Johnson said.
During a joint press conference with Johnson in Stockholm, Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson said: “Putin thought he could cause division, but he has achieved the opposite. We stand here today more united than ever.”
In Helsinki, asked if Finland would be provoking Russia by joining Nato, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said President Putin would be blamed for any decision to the military alliance. “My response would be that you caused this. Look at the mirror,” he said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced a rethink of how Sweden and Finland safeguard national security. Both are expected to join Nato, but both are worried they would be vulnerable while their applications are processed, which could take up to a year. Sweden have also received assurances of support from the US and Germany. The Kremlin has warned of “military and political repercussions” if the duo decide to join Nato.