Blinken to visit Luleå amid Arctic fighter jet exercise
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with the Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at Luleå air base on May 30.
While Sweden is waiting on the doorsteps to NATO, the US Secretary of State sends a strong signal of support as he starts his Nordic visit at Norrbotten Wing, home to Sweden’s northern fighter jets base.
The hope was for Sweden to join North Atlantic Alliance ahead of the Vilnius NATO Summit in July.
Security is on the agenda, but the Government in Stockholm has released few details about the upcoming meeting. A day ahead of Blinken’s visit is the start of Arctic Challenge 2023, Europe’s largest air force exercise that will gather 14 nations. War games with about 150 fighter jets will take place in the skies above Norway, Sweden and Finland until June 9.
The US aircraft carrier “USS Gerald R. Ford” is this weekend visiting Oslo, but will sail north on Monday, to the waters west of Helgeland near the Arctic Circle where the powerful carrier group is expected to train together with NATO allies.
After Luleå, Blinken will participate in an informal meeting among NATO foreign ministers in Oslo on May 31 and June 1. Russia’s war on Ukraine and the changing security situation in Europe are on the agenda. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström will attend the Oslo meeting.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Norway committed to keeping Arctic Council as leading forum on North says ambassador, CBC News
Denmark: Danish policy prioritizes low-conflict Arctic amidst Russian tensions, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Russian cyber attacks, espionage pose growing threat to Finnish national security, Yle news
Greenland: Growing focus on Arctic puts Greenland at higher risk of cyber attacks: assessment, Eye on the Arctic
Iceland: NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise underway in North Atlantic, Eye on the Arctic
Norway: And in Between, There Are Doors’—Europe, the Arctic, and shared spaces, Blog by Marc Lanteigne
Russia: Moscow expels five Swedish diplomats, orders closure of Consulate General, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Russian spy ships surveying Nordic energy infrastructure, Radio Sweden
United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic