Boris Johnson has inked a major security agreement with Sweden and Finland, a harsh warning to Vladimir Putin.
The Prime Minister announced a substantial new military pact with the two countries, who have both been threatened by Russia in recent weeks after showing interest in joining NATO.
He suggested yesterday that British troops may be deployed to defend Sweden and Finland if they are attacked by Russia.
The Prime Minister held a press conference in Helsinki alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, and when asked if there would be “British boots on the ground” on Finnish territory during a “possible conflict with Russia”, he replied: “I think the solemn declaration is itself clear.
“And what it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then yes, we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance.
“But the nature of that assistance will of course depend upon the request of the other party.
“However, it’s also intended to be the foundation of an intensification of our security and our defence relationship in other ways as well.”
Mr Johnson described the declaration as a “pivotal moment in our shared history”. He added: “It’s pivotal because the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the equation of European security and it has rewritten our reality and reshaped our future.
The Prime Minister spoke with his Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson earlier today, insisting that the UK “would not hesitate” to respond if the country is attacked.
“The many carcasses of Russian tanks that now litter the fields and streets of Ukraine, due to Swedish-developed and British-built NLaws (anti-tank weaponry), surely attest to how effective that co-operation can be,” he stated alongside the Swedish leader at her Harpsund country retreat.
Mr Johnson then firmly stepped on the accelerator as he launched a blistering attack against Russian President Putin.
He told the press conference: “This week, many of us have been paying tribute to the brave men and women who secured victory and peace in Europe 77 years ago.”
“So it’s a sad irony that we’ve been forced to discuss how best to fortify our shared defences against the empty conceit of a 21st-century tyrant.”
Ms. Andersson, the Swedish prime minister, said she was “very happy” to sign the key bilateral agreement, while Mr. Niinisto, the Finnish president, said the declaration would “deepen the partnership we already have.”
The significant step comes as both Northern European countries ponder joining NATO in the face of Russia’s harsh military actions.
These recent pledges follow claims that the UK would always assist Finland if it was attacked by Russia, despite the fact that Finland is not a NATO member.
Even “without any big formal agreement,” the UK Defence Secretary said it was “inconceivable” that the UK would not help either of the Scandinavian countries if they needed help.