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UK PM Johnson to travel to Sweden and Finland on Wednesday

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By Reuters
UK PM Johnson to travel to Sweden and Finland on Wednesday
UK PM Johnson to travel to Sweden and Finland on Wednesday   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

LONDON -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel to Sweden and Finland on Wednesday, his spokesman said, as the two countries consider joining NATO.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked an urgent rethink of security policy in both Sweden and Finland with both expected to make a decision about whether to apply to join NATO this month.

“We support countries’ democratic capability to decide on things like NATO membership,” Johnson’s spokesman said.

“We understand the positions of Sweden and Finland and that is why the prime minister is going to discuss these broader security issues.”

Johnson will meet his counterparts in Stockholm and Helsinki during a one-day trip on Wednesday, taking questions from the media in both countries.

A formal application to join NATO could be made at the alliance’s June summit in Madrid and is likely to be fast-tracked, though getting the signatures of all 30 alliance members could take up to a year.

Finland and Sweden would like to have some guarantees that NATO member nations would defend them during any transition period, when they would be applicants to the alliance, but not yet in.

Britain has been one of the strongest supporters of Ukraine’s efforts to resist Russian forces since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on Feb. 24. The government has sent anti-tank missiles, air defence systems and other weapons to Ukraine.