UK signs security declarations with Sweden, Finland
- United Kingdom
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is touring across Europe on Wednesday to sign declarations with Sweden and Finland to reinforce their security with a pledge to assist in the event of an attack, against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Downing Street said the declarations will see a step-change in defense and security cooperation between the UK and each country, intensifying intelligence sharing, accelerating joint military training, exercising and deployments, and bolstering security across all three countries and northern Europe. They will also see the UK bolster its collaboration on traditional threats facing all three nations, while working with Sweden and Finland to tackle new geopolitical challenges, such as hybrid and cyber threats.
''We are steadfast and unequivocal in our support to both Sweden and Finland and the signing of these security declarations is a symbol of the everlasting assurance between our nations,'' said Johnson.
''When Europe celebrated VE [Victory in Europe] Day in 1945 – a victory that was of course in no small part ensured by the heroism of the Russian people – we hoped that peace on our continent endures. Well (Russian President) Putin's bloodthirsty campaign against a sovereign nation has put an end to that hope," he said, concerning the end of the Second World War.
''And we face a new reality. But one that we face together. Throughout this conflict, our Nordic partners have been leading international support, not just for Ukraine but also for European security," he added.
The declarations signed with Sweden and Finland are aimed at facilitating the UK to cooperation with key Nordic partners and their armed forces, in all domains, including cyberspace. They will also involve closer collaboration on new technology and intelligence gathering. As part of increased defense cooperation with Sweden and Finland, Johnson offered to increase deployments to the region, including with Royal Air Force, British Army, and Royal Navy assets and personnel.
Downing Street noted that both Sweden and Finland have played a key role in supporting Ukraine to defend itself in recent weeks and months, while British, Swedish, and Finnish forces have exercised together across the High North and the Baltics. Both nations are part of the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force task force, which brings together 10 countries in support of stability and security in the North Atlantic, Baltic Sea Region, and the High North. Johnson's latest assurances build on the ties of that defense grouping.
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