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Boris visits Sweden and Finland to sign historic security pacts

Boris visits Sweden and Finland to sign historic security pacts 2

Boris warns Sweden and Finland must be free to decide whether to join NATO without ‘threat of retaliation’ as he delivers stark message to Putin on visit to the countries to sign historic security pacts

  • Boris Johnson is on a visit to Sweden and Finland signing historic security pacts
  • Both countries considering applying for membership of NATO military alliance
  • Kremlin has warned that it is watching closely for any reconfiguration of NATO 

Boris Johnson warned Sweden and Finland must be free to decide whether to join NATO without ‘fear of retaliation’ as he visited the countries to sign historic security assurance declarations today.

The PM sent a stark message to Vladimir Putin as he inked pledges to ‘bolster military ties’ and support both countries should they come under attack.

Speaking alongside Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson at her Harpsund country residence, Mr Johnson said it was a matter for the country’s people whether to apply for membership of the military alliance.

But he insisted: ‘The war in Ukraine is forcing us all to make difficult decisions.

‘Sovereign nations must be free to make those decisions without fear or influence or threat of retaliation.’ 

Mr Johnson set out a UK commitment to come to the country’s aid in the event of a crisis, saying if help was requested ‘we will provide it’. However, he sidestepped questions about whether that might include using nuclear weapons.

Ms Andersson said Sweden was safer as a result of the deal. 

The premier is set to visit to Finland later, where he is expected to formalise a similar agreement with the country’s President Sauli Niinisto during a whirlwind 24 hours.

An offer to increase deployments to the region, including with Royal Air Force, British Army and Royal Navy personnel and assets, will also be made.

Boris visits Sweden and Finland to sign historic security pacts 3

Boris Johnson arrived in Stockholm before travelling to Harpsund, the country residence of his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, where he set out a UK commitment to come to the country’s aid in the event of a crisis

The UK and Swedish leaders enjoyed lunch before holding a press conferennce

The UK and Swedish leaders enjoyed lunch before holding a press conferennce

The PM (pictured in Sweden) is inking pledges to 'bolster military ties' and support both countries should they come under attack

The PM (pictured in Sweden) is inking pledges to ‘bolster military ties’ and support both countries should they come under attack

Both countries consider the prospect of Nato membership in the face of Putin's ongoing military aggression

Both countries consider the prospect of Nato membership in the face of Putin’s ongoing military aggression

It comes as both countries consider the prospect of Nato membership in the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military aggression.

But the Kremlin has warned that it is ‘watching very closely anything that can affect NATO configuration near our borders’.

Mr Johnson said: ‘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.

‘These are not a short-term stop-gap, but a long-term commitment to bolster military ties and global stability, and fortify Europe’s defences for generations to come.’

The declarations build on claims made earlier in the month that the UK would always aid Finland if it were attacked by Russia, regardless of whether the country was a member of Nato.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was ‘inconceivable’ that Britain would not help either Finland or Sweden if it were in crisis, even ‘without any big formal agreement’.

Mr Johnson held talks with Ms Andersson and Mr Niinisto in March as part of a meeting of the Joint Expeditionary Force nations, which includes Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania the Netherlands and Norway.

After the meeting, Downing Street said the two leaders agreed that ‘Putin’s invasion had dramatically changed the landscape of European security’.

Finland shares a lengthy land border with Russia and is only about 250 miles from St Petersburg.

The leaders went for a walk around the lake at the Swedish residence

The leaders went for a walk around the lake at the Swedish residence

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