Boris Johnson vows UK will fight Russia if it invades Sweden or Finland
Boris Johnson has signed security pacts with Sweden and Finland that could see British troops sent to the Nordic nations in the event of a Russian invasion from “21st century tyrant” Vladimir Putin. The Prime Minister said the parallel agreements would help defend each country should it come under threat as he met with leaders in both nations over a whirlwind 24 hours on Wednesday.
Mr Johnson said the UK would come to Finland’s assistance, including with military support, in the event of an attack on the country. Asked during a press conference in Helsinki alongside Finnish president Sauli Niinisto if there would be “British boots on the ground” on Finnish territory during a “possible conflict with Russia”, he said: “I think the solemn declaration is itself clear.
“And what it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then yes, we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance. But the nature of that assistance will of course depend upon the request of the other party.
“But it’s also intended to be the foundation of an intensification of our security and our defence relationship in other ways as well.”
Meeting Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson earlier in the day, Mr Johnson said the UK “will not hesitate” to act in the event of an attack on the country. The British Prime Minister said it was “a sad irony” that the security assurance declaration was signed days after marking VE Day, but was more important than ever under the “grim circumstances” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Speaking alongside his Swedish counterpart at her Harpsund country retreat on Wednesday, he added: “The many carcasses of Russian tanks that now litter the fields and streets of Ukraine, thanks to Swedish-developed and British-built NLaws (anti-tank weapons), certainly speak to how effective that co-operation can be. Most importantly, this is an agreement that enshrines the values that both Sweden and the UK hold dear, and which we will not hesitate to defend.”
Mr Johnson, deploying some of his strongest language yet to condemn the Russian president, told a press conference: “This week, many of us have been paying tribute to the brave men and women who secured victory and peace in Europe 77 years ago. So it’s a sad irony that we’ve been forced to discuss how best to fortify our shared defences against the empty conceit of a 21st century tyrant.”
Ms Andersson said she was “very happy” to sign the bilateral agreement, while Mr Niinisto said the declaration would “deepen the co-operation we already have”. It comes as both European countries consider the prospect of Nato membership in the face of Mr Putin’s ongoing military aggression.
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