Mon, August 15, 2022


Nato leaders upbeat about Sweden, Finland accession on final day of Madrid summit

A key summit of Nato leaders wrapped up on Thursday after two days of talks. Vladimir Putin reacted to Tuesday's news that Finland and Sweden would be invited to join Nato after member Turkey withdrew its opposition to the Nordic countries joining the alliance.

"We don't have problems with Finland and Sweden that, unfortunately, we have with Ukraine," President Putin said, claiming Russia took no issue with the two countries joining the alliance which Moscow sees as expansionist and aggressive. The Russian president did, however, say that his country would respond to Nato deployments in the countries, without specifying what any response would look like. "Now, if Nato troops and infrastructure are deployed, we will be compelled to respond."

In Madrid, Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that while she expected Russian retaliation for the admission of Finland and Sweden, she did not think military action was likely, instead of anticipating cyber and hybrid attacks.

Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said the country's invitation to join Nato would be "good for the security in Sweden and for the Swedish people" but added that she wanted the country to be a "security provider" for Nato in return.

Leaders gathered for closed talks before speaking to the press in the afternoon.

U.S. President Joe Biden said the war in Ukraine had made Nato stronger and more united and had seen "democracies of the world stand up and oppose his aggression and defend the rules-based order."

President Biden went on to describe Russia as posing and "direct threat" to Europe and called out what he called the "systemic challenges that China poses to a rules-based world order."

The United States is changing its force posture in Europe based on threats coming from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and other directions. Biden confirmed the U.S. will raise the number of destroyers in Spain to six from four and said Washington will send two additional F-35 squadrons to Britain and establish the 5th Army headquarters in Poland.

Nato's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Finland and Sweden would sign an accession protocol to join Nato on Tuesday but said the political decision on membership had been made. He added that the alliance would protect the two countries during their accession process in "all eventualities."

France's President Emmanuel Macron said the move sent a "very clear strategic message to Russia" while Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of the importance of investment in defence spending and said the UK's defence budget would reach 2.5% by end of the decade.




Published : July 01, 2022

By : Reuters