British troops could be sent to Sweden and Finland in the event of a Russian invasion by ’21st century tyrant’ Vladimir Putin after Boris Johnson signed security pacts with Nordic nations. The Prime Minister met the leaders of the two countries during a whirlwind 24-hour session on Wednesday May 11 and said the side deals would help defend each country if it came under threat.
In the event of an attack on the country, Mr Johnson said the UK would come to Finland’s aid, including with military support. Asked at 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 replied: “I think the solemn declaration itself is clear.
“And what he’s saying is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on one of us, then yes, we will come to the aid of each other, including with a military assistance But the nature of this assistance will of course depend on the request of the other party.
“But it is also intended to be the foundation for an intensification of our security and defense relationship in other ways as well.”
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Meeting Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Mr Johnson said the UK “will not hesitate” to act if there is an attack on the country. The British Prime Minister said it was “a sad irony” that the security assurance statement had been signed days after marking VE Day, but was more important than ever under the “circumstances dark” that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Speaking alongside his Swedish counterpart during his retreat to Harpsund on Wednesday, he added: “The many Russian tank carcasses that now litter the fields and streets of Ukraine, thanks to NLaws (anti-tank weapons) developed by Sweden and built by the British, certainly testify to the effectiveness of this cooperation. More importantly, it is an agreement which enshrines the values dear to Sweden and the United Kingdom, and which we will not hesitate not to defend.
Mr Johnson, deploying some of his strongest words yet to condemn the Russian President, told a press conference: ‘This week many of us have paid tribute to the brave men and women who secured victory and peace in Europe 77 years ago, so it is a sad irony that we have been forced to discuss how best to strengthen our common defenses against the futile vanity 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 cooperation we already have”. It comes as the two European countries grapple with the prospect of NATO membership in the face of Mr Putin’s ongoing military aggression.