Sweden will have more joint military exercises and share more intelligence with both Finland and the military alliance NATO, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said at the Nordic defence meeting Tuesday evening.
Hultqvist said that Sweden needs to strengthen its ties both with neighbouring Finland and with NATO to ensure peace and stability in the Nordic region and cited Russia’s increasing military activity in the Baltic Sea as the main reason why. He said that joint exercises are a way for Sweden to signal that the country is ‘part of a joint force, even though we’re not NATO members’.
Cooperation does not mean membership: Sweden
Hultqvist did, however, stress that further cooperation with NATO does not mean that Sweden is inching closer to becoming a member of the alliance.
“We have a partnership with NATO, we cooperate with NATO, but we are not looking to join the alliance,” Hultqvist said.
During the defence meeting, the Nordic ministers agreed to open secure communication channels between the countries to make it easier to share intelligence, and decided to strive for improved cyber defence.
Related stories from around the North:
Denmark: Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News
Finland: Finns on fence about NATO, Yle News
Norway: Norway must ramp up military in response to Russia: report, Barents Observer
Russia: Russia responds to Arctic NATO drill, Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden can learn from NATO: politician, Radio Sweden
United States: U.S. Arctic rep: Russia’s Arctic buildup not necessarily martial, Alaska Public Radio Network