Pentagon said that Russia’s warnings against Sweden and Finland’s alliance membership bids are “concerning”
The United States is prepared, if needed, to provide Sweden and Finland with military support as these countries await NATO’s response to their membership applications, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said.
In spite of multiple Russian warnings, both Sweden and Finland declared their intentions to join NATO on Sunday. Moscow considers NATO expansion a threat to its security and has pledged previously to respond.
In a BBC interview which was recorded on Friday and broadcast on Sunday, Kirby said that Russia’s warnings are “This is clearly alarming.”
“But it is not up to Russia to determine whether Finland and Sweden become NATO allies, it’s up to the people of Finland and the people of Sweden,” the US military spokesman said.
Kirby answered the question “Would the US send troops to defend Finland or Sweden in case of attack?”. Although he initially said that he didn’t wish to speculate about a scenario, a more detailed answer was provided.
He stressed that both Finland and Sweden “Have very modern militaries” that US forces “You are relaxed working with them.” Close relations between Washington and the two northern European countries, in Kirby’s opinion, would allow Washington to provide Helsinki and Stockholm with military assistance.
“If in the period of their application to NATO and their accession to NATO they would need some additional capabilities or support … we will be able to provide some additional support if needed,” he said.
Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and Sweden decided to reconsider their long-standing policy of non-alignment following a major change in public opinion after the launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Recent polls show that both Finland and Sweden support NATO membership.
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