Sweden to send NATO troops to Latvia

Sweden to send NATO troops to Latvia

Scandinavian country to send first NATO troops abroad since joining alliance

By Leila Nezirevic

LONDON (AA) - Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced Thursday that Sweden will send a reduced battalion to NATO forces in Latvia in 2025 to support the Baltic country against a “possible Russian attack.”

The announcement marks the first Swedish troop contribution to NATO since the Nordic country formally joined the alliance.

“The government this morning gave Sweden’s armed forces the formal task of planning and preparing for the Swedish contribution of a reduced mechanized battalion to NATO’s forward land forces in Latvia,” Kristersson told reporters at a news conference in Stockholm with Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina.

“Our aim is a force contribution, including CV 90s armored vehicles and Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

“We’re planning for the deployment early next year after a parliament decision,” the prime minister added.

In January, Swedish officials said the country plans to send a reduced mechanized battalion to Latvia as early as next year, to act as a deterrent to a possible Russian attack against the West and NATO.

The final decision, however, awaited NATO membership.

Around 600 troops will be stationed in Latvia for six months, according to the statement in January.

“Just like the ability to receive military support in Sweden when needed, the ability to provide military support outside our borders is also crucial for our future role in NATO,” Maj. Gen. Jonny Lindfors said in the statement.

The operation in Latvia is led by a Danish divisional staff and the plan is that Sweden and Denmark will alternately share responsibility for setting up a battalion as part of a brigade based outside Riga, the officials said in January.

Sweden will spend 2% of its GDP on defense this year and in years to come, double what it was spending previously, according to earlier statements by Kristersson.

Sweden officially joined the military alliance on March 7, ending decades of neutrality in the wake of Russia's war on Ukraine.

It marked the end of an almost two-year wait for the Scandinavian country that started in May 2022, when it initially applied to join the Western alliance together with neighboring Finland, three months after the war in Ukraine started in February 2022.

The ratification of Sweden ensures NATO’s control of the Nordic region, with all Baltic countries now members.

Sweden to send NATO troops to Latvia

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