Sweden is requesting NATO protection near Russia

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POSITIVE
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that bolstering his country’s defense near Russia’s borders is one of Sweden’s core priorities to discuss with NATO after joining the military alliance last week.
A historically neutral country, Sweden became the 32nd member of NATO on Thursday, growing the Western bloc amid fears that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine could spill into eastern Europe next.
The addition of Stockholm’s military, alongside Finland’s accession to the alliance in the spring, boosts NATO’s security of northern Europe and the Arctic.
Sweden also grants the alliance access to Gotland, an island in the Baltic Sea that sits close to the border of the Russian exclave, Kaliningrad.
According to Kristersson, who recently spoke with Financial Times, securing Gotland is “one obvious thing to be discussed with our new NATO allies,” adding that Sweden’s military presence on the island is relatively “small.”
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Monday gives a press conference before the ceremony to mark Sweden’s accession to NATO, at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Kristersson said that protecting the Baltic Sea island… Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Monday gives a press conference before the ceremony to mark Sweden’s accession to NATO, at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Kristersson said that protecting the Baltic Sea island of Gotland was a top priority now that Sweden has joined NATO.
More Omar Havana/Getty Images”There are quite a few things in terms of how to deploy our resources, where to focus the most,” Kristersson added.
“And obviously everything to do with the Baltic Sea is such an obvious candidate.
That goes in terms of presence on Gotland, but also in terms of surveillance, in terms of submarine capabilities.”
Gotland sits some 186 miles from Kaliningrad’s border, which is home to Russia’s Baltic Fleet.
The island serves as a strategic hub for control of the Baltic Sea, which also borders Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg.
“Gotland and Sweden being in NATO changes the entire calculus,” Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins told Financial Times last week.
“It means that the strategic control of the Baltic Sea would revert to NATO.
It’s a question that Russia understands very well.”
Newsweek reached out to Sweden’s Foreign Ministry via email for comment on Wednesday.
Sweden & Finland: Newest NATO Members in Russia’s Vicinity Sweden & Finland: Newest NATO Members in Russia’s Vicinity StatistaThis chart, provided by Statista, shows European countries by the year they joined NATO.
NATO has been taking steps to increase security measures along its eastern borders in recent months, with particular focus on bolstering defenses in the Baltic states.
Several European countries have raised concerns that Russia may look to attack the Baltics—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—within the next decade.
Moscow has denied any intention to spark greater conflict with the Western bloc.
After the United States conducted drills with Sweden’s military on Gotland in 2022, Swedish Colonel Magnus Frykvall, commander of the Gotland regiment, told The New York Times in a phone interview that defending the island was of clear importance in light of the conflict in Ukraine.
“A lot of us thought that there wouldn’t be a need to defend Gotland after the Soviet collapse,” Frykvall told the Times in June 2022.
“This has been put in a totally new point of view since the war in Ukraine in 2014, and it was even more clear to us with the current invasion.”

Following Sweden’s entry into NATO last week, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson stated that one of his top concerns to discuss with the military alliance is strengthening his nation’s defenses surrounding Russia’s borders.

Sweden, a nation that has always maintained its neutrality, joined NATO on Thursday, becoming its 32nd member as a result of worries that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine may soon spread to eastern Europe. NATO’s security of northern Europe and the Arctic is strengthened by the addition of Stockholm’s military and Finland’s alliance membership in the spring.

Additionally, Sweden allows the alliance access to the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, which is located near the border of the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Securing Gotland is “one obvious thing to be discussed with our new NATO allies,” and Sweden’s military presence on the island is relatively “small,” according to Kristersson, who recently spoke with Financial Times. “.

At the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson holds a press conference prior to the ceremony commemorating Sweden’s accession to NATO. Kristersson said that safeguarding the island in the Baltic Sea. Ulf Kristersson, the prime minister of Sweden, holds a press conference on Monday at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, prior to the ceremony commemorating Sweden’s membership. Kristersson stated that with Sweden’s entry into NATO, safeguarding the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea was of utmost importance. More photos by Omar Havana/Getty Images.

Regarding how to allocate our resources and where to concentrate most, Kristersson continued, “there are quite a few things.”. “And the Baltic Sea is undoubtedly a prime candidate for anything. This pertains not only to being present on Gotland but also to submarine capabilities and surveillance. “.”.

Kaliningrad, the border town of Russia that is home to the Baltic Fleet, is about 186 miles away from Gotland. The island, which is adjacent to Saint Petersburg, the second-biggest city in Russia, functions as a strategic center for dominance of the Baltic Sea.

The inclusion of Sweden and Gotland in NATO “changes the entire calculus,” Latvia’s Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins said to Financial Times last week. Meaning that NATO would once again have strategic command over the Baltic Sea. Russia is highly knowledgeable about this question. “.”.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry was contacted by Newsweek via email on Wednesday to provide a response.

Statista reports that Sweden and Finland are the newest members of NATO in the vicinity of Russia.

European nations are arranged according to the year they joined NATO in this graph, which was provided by Statista.

In recent months, NATO has worked to strengthen defenses in the Baltic states while also stepping up security measures along its eastern borders. Russia could target Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania within the next ten years, according to worries expressed by a number of European nations. Moscow has refuted any plans to incite more hostilities with the West.

Swedish Colonel Magnus Frykvall, commander of the Gotland regiment, told The New York Times over the phone in 2022, following US military drills on the island, that protecting the island was obviously vital given the situation in Ukraine.

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, many of us believed that Gotland would not need to be defended,” Frykvall said in a June 2022 interview with the Times. Since the 2014 war in Ukraine, this has been seen from an entirely different perspective, and the current invasion has made it even more apparent to us. ****.

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