NATO’s Sweden readies for ‘obvious’ Russian threat and sends troops to Latvia | World | News

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In a bold move amid escalating tensions in the region, Sweden has confirmed plans to station troops in Latvia, aligning with NATO’s presence there.

Ambassador Axel Wernhoff affirmed Sweden’s commitment, indicating troop deployment to commence from November onwards, with Denmark’s forces in rotation and certain missions like minesweeping potentially starting earlier.

“At this stage, we have no illusions about Russia,” Wernhoff told Politico. “The NATO Strategic Concept defines Russia very clearly as the obvious military threat. I think we will have to live with this for decades.”

This stance reflects growing concerns within Swedish leadership regarding Russia‘s aggressive posturing. Foreign Minister Tobias Billström emphasised the imperative for strategic responses.

He told Euractiv: “We have to understand that Russia is a neighbour that is behaving irresponsibly, which is threatening the world with irresponsible nuclear threats and the idea of recreating its former empire at the expense of independent sovereign states.”

Billström’s comments come in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s advocacy for ‘strategic ambiguity’ towards Russia, triggering debate among European leaders. While acknowledging the urgency to address the conflict in Ukraine, Billström clarified Sweden’s position, suggesting that certain proposals, such as training Ukrainian personnel on Ukrainian soil, might be deemed excessive.

“We have to create more strategic difficulties for Russia,” he reiterated, stressing the need for collective action within NATO.

In January, Swedish Civil Defence Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin warned citizens of the possibility of war in Sweden. Drawing parallels with the resilience exhibited by Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression, Bohlin stressed the importance of national preparedness and swift action.

Echoing Bohlin’s sentiments, Commander-in-Chief Micael Byden urged citizens to mentally prepare for potential conflict, emphasising the need for proactive measures. “It is now about moving from words and understanding to action,” he warned.

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