Sweden to move ahead with sending troops to Latvia as part of NATO forces

Sweden will move ahead with plans to send troops to Latvia as part of NATO’s deployment in the Baltic countries, which share land borders with Russia and its ally Belarus, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday.

“This morning, the government took the formal decision to assign the armed forces the task of preparing the Swedish contribution to the reduced battalion,” Kristersson told a news conference with his Latvian counterpart Evika Silina.

“The goal is to have this force operational from the beginning of next year.”

The contribution will include armoured vehicles and Leopard tanks, Kristersson added.

The Nordic country joined NATO last month, becoming the military alliance’s 32nd member, abandoning decades of non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden had already said it aimed to contribute a reduced mechanised battalion to NATO’s deployment in Latvia as early as next year, troops intended to deter and defend against any attack, but the final decision awaited NATO membership.

Sweden’s armed forces have previously said the country’s deployment to Latvia could include about 600 army troops.

(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Stine Jacobsen, editing by Anna Ringstrom)

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/sweden-move-ahead-with-sending-troops-latvia-part-nato-forces-2024-04-25/#:~:text=STOCKHOLM%2C%20April%2025%20(Reuters),Ulf%20Kristersson%20said%20on%20Thursday.