U.S.-Sweden Security Pact Confirmed As Anti-Putin Alliance Grows

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Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has confirmed that the U.S. agreed to assist in Sweden’s defense as needed while a potential NATO membership application from the country is handled. Sweden and Finland have both been reported to be moving towards applying for membership in the alliance, moves that would represent another high-profile strategic setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose ongoing invasion of Ukraine has provided some of the push behind Finland and Sweden’s deliberations.

As Linde explained the situation: “Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American assurance… However, not concrete security guarantees, those you can only get if you are a full member of NATO.” Linde was in D.C. for a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The U.S. assurances, she said while still in D.C., “would mean that Russia can be clear that if they direct any kind of negative activities against Sweden, which they have threatened, it would not be something that the U.S. would just allow to happen… without a response.” A statement from the State Department after Blinken and Linde’s meeting didn’t mention the assurances of security assistance, Reuters noted. Additionally however, Linde noted that U.S. authorities were in support of Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

NATO member countries agree to participate in the defenses of other member countries should those nations be attacked. In other words, an attack from Russia on any of the countries in the alliance could lead to military responses from the United States. During a high-profile speech in Warsaw, President Joe Biden reiterated that U.S. officials were committed to the defense of NATO members’ territory. The security assurances evidently provided to Sweden by the U.S. were previously reported on in Swedish media, although they hadn’t been officially confirmed. Journalist Samuel Ramani summarized around that earlier point that “there could be hybrid threat assistance, cyber assistance, naval protection, and other forms of aid.” Authorities in Sweden and Finland reportedly agreed on submitting simultaneous applications for membership in NATO, and those applications are apparently set to potentially emerge the week of May 16.

The U.S. has already provided billions of dollars worth of assistance to Ukraine throughout the course of the presently unfolding war between the country and Russia. That assistance — which Biden hopes to dramatically ramp up — has consisted of various types of weapons, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “informed the Government of Ukraine that the U.S. Department of Defense will expand military training for Ukrainian service members in the region on certain weapons systems being provided,” a statement from State Department spokesperson Ned Price said late last month. Austin and Blinken both visited Ukraine and met with government leaders there.