Britain would help Sweden militarily if it was attacked: UK defence minister

Sweden can count on help from the UK if we are attacked by Russia, Britain's defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said.

Britain would help Sweden militarily if it was attacked: UK defence minister
British defence secretary Ben Wallace, Denmark's defence minister Morten Bødskov and Sweden's defence minister Peter Hultqvist at a joint press conference in Copenhagen. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The UK would definitely help Sweden if Russia were to mount an attack, British defence secretary Ben Wallace said at a joint press conference in Copenhagen, alongside Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, and Denmark’s defence minister Morten Bødskov. 

“Sweden is part of the same family. We would stand beside Sweden and do everything we can to help, both militarily and in other ways,” Wallace said.

Hultqvist welcomed the British assurances, which he said he had been given previously in informal discussions between the ministers.

He said he was “pleased” that Wallace was now making the same statement in public. “This is a statement from the UK which we are pleased to hear,” he said.

“For the last eight years, Sweden has increased its military capacity substantially. We have an investment programme with an 80 percent increase between 2014-2025 and are now negotiating further measures,” he told the TT newswire. “Sweden has made at least 20 agreements with other countries, including the UK and the USA, and a partnership with Nato.

“We are developing and deepening our partnership with Nato. We have tried to piece together parts of a security jigsaw in our part of Europe together with others, and if someone in our vicinity is attacked, we will all be affected.” 

The countries’ defence ministers had met in Copenhagen in connection with a pre-planned training exercise as part of the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF).

During the visit, it became clear that the meeting was not just about an exercise. Material and Danish personnel will be sent to Estonia on the Danish frigate HDMS Niels Juel, escorted by the Swedish corvette HMS Karlstad, and a Swedish helicopter.

The exercise and the operation should be seen as part of Nato’s deterrent measures against Russia and president Vladimir Putin, Bødskov said.

“There is one man which is chiefly responsible for the situation we are currently in, and that is Putin,” he said. “He is the one who – in the most brutal way – has removed a land’s right to choose freely and independently who they want to cooperate with. That is what he has taken away from the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government.”

The other Nordic countries, the three Baltic states and the Netherlands are also part of the operation in Copenhagen. Apart from Sweden and Finland, the other countries are all members of Nato.

Member comments

  1. The UK has issued 50 Visas to Ukrainian Refugees as of today . If I were Sweden , I would look elsewhere for military help not the UK . Indians , Africans and Chinese students are being refused exit on the trains in Ukraine , and have to walk 500 KMS to Poland where upon arrival they are denied entry because they are not White . The Chinese are not impressed , the Africans disgusted , and India will never support any country that supports this kind of racism . Sweden should back off , it is not a military power , it has had it easy for seven hundred years , so stop the Drum Roll to joining NATO and stop annoying Russia , stop it or Sweden will no longer be the safest country to live in the World !

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Russia expels Swedish diplomats in retaliation for ‘hostile actions’

Moscow on Tuesday said it was expelling three Swedish diplomats after Stockholm expelled three Russian diplomats over the conflict in Ukraine, despite Sweden saying four were dismissed.

Russia expels Swedish diplomats in retaliation for 'hostile actions'

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement it summoned the Swedish ambassador to Russia and “strongly protested” the expulsion of Russian diplomats and Sweden’s “military support to the Kyiv regime”.

It also accused Sweden of “covering up the crimes of Ukrainian nationalists against the civilian population of Donbas and Ukraine,” referring to a region in eastern Ukraine, parts of which are controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

“In response to this, the Russian side decided to declare persona non grata three diplomats of the Swedish embassy in Russia,” the ministry said.

In early April, Sweden said it was expelling three Russian diplomats who conducted “illegal operations”, following similar moves by other EU allies.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde said the action was “very regrettable,” but said that a total of four diplomats had been expelled — three from the embassy in Moscow and another at the Swedish consulate in Saint Petersburg.

In a written response to AFP, Linde stressed that Sweden expelled the Russians because they had conducted operations that “violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” but claimed the Swedish diplomats had conducted “traditional diplomatic activities.”

“Sweden will respond in an appropriate manner to Russia’s unwarranted and disproportionate actions,” Linde said.