Swedish Minister of Defense Paul Jonson says that Sweden, as Finland’s close partner, is ready to discuss if Finland would like to receive support regarding the situation on the eastern border. There have still been no requests for help or cooperation regarding the Ministry of Defense’s domain.
“We have had a bilateral discussion about this (situation), and Finland has to decide what is the best starting point for its security in the current situation.”
“We are of course your close partner and we are willing to have a discussion and dialogue if Finland would like some kind of support in this matter,” says Jonson in an interview with HS.
He visited Finland on Tuesday and participated in the Hanakäräjät event, which discussed the Russian threat, organized at the Hanasaari cultural center.
Also the Minister of Defense Antti Häkkänen (cook) was supposed to be there, but he left with a quick warning.
On Tuesday, the government prepared decisions regarding asylum seekers coming across the eastern border.
Finland already closed the border crossings of Southeast Finland last week. The reason is the situation, considered a hybrid operation, where the Russians have been seen bringing migrants to the Finnish border.
Johnson says that his picture is that Finland has the appropriate legislative conditions for the situation on the eastern border and that Finland is well equipped to handle similar matters.
“We can state that Russia chooses to act in the gray area between full-scale peace and full-scale war. And we have seen how Russia has acted before in such contexts in 2015.”
Jonson does not take a position on Finland’s possible increasingly strict policies regarding the eastern border.
Swedish and also the key question from the point of view of Finland’s security is the realization of Sweden’s NATO membership at the moment.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan submitted Sweden’s membership to the Turkish Parliament about a month ago, but the matter has not been voted on. The parliament’s foreign affairs committee discussed Sweden’s membership last week, but it still decided to continue discussions.
Sweden’s membership is still not ratified in Hungary as well.
Jonson is hopeful that Sweden can join the military alliance soon.
“We do not set a timetable for independent national parliaments, but we are hopeful that we can become members as soon as possible.”
Jonson says that he considers it possible that the case would continue in Turkey this week. At the same time, he repeats that it is a matter of the Turkish Parliament.
NATO foreign ministers will meet in Brussels next week. Below the meeting, it has been speculated whether the membership could be blessed in this context. Jonson does not comment on whether this opportunity has already been lost.
Although Sweden’s full membership is still delayed, as an observer member, Sweden is widely involved in NATO’s activities and is preparing for its role in the alliance.
Like Finland, it has considered, among other things, how it could participate in NATO’s so-called peacetime joint defense tasks.
Sweden has said that it is ready to participate, for example, in NATO’s eFP forces, or combat divisions, which are in the eight eastern member countries of the military alliance. It can also be involved in NATO’s joint air surveillance and its permanent naval divisions.
Jonson confirms that Sweden has considered, for example, participating in the combat division located in Latvia
“It is one of the options that I know the commander of the defense forces about by Micael Bydén having had discussions (…)”, says Jonson.
According to him, participating in a Canadian-led combat division would be one possibility and possibly rotate with Danish forces.
According to Jonson, air surveillance could be involved where NATO sees a need, for example in the Baltics.
SwedenA like Finland, the questions concerning NATO’s future command structures also apply.
At this time, the Brunssum joint operation headquarters in the Netherlands will act as the headquarters of Finland and Denmark from the Nordic countries. Norway is commanded from Norfolk, USA.
It is the first time that the commanders of the defense forces of the countries have given their advice that the North should be kept unified in the command structures. In the long term, the eye is on Norfolk.
According to HS’s information, this has also been a desire in NATO.
“I think this decision is driven by military logic rather than political logic. We are not yet fully allied, but the principle is to keep the Nordic countries together and also get a return for the extensive cooperation we already have in the Nordic regions.”
“There are strong reasons for this,” says Jonson, referring to command structures.
He does not take a position on whether Sweden would like possible regional command structures in its territory. The possibility of such, possibly under Norfolk, has been discussed in public recently.
Swedish the quick realization of membership has been considered important, among other things, because NATO can take Sweden into account as part of its new regional defense plans.
Sweden’s future role in NATO has been described as a kind of support area from where reinforcements are brought to the eastern edge of the military alliance.
Jonson formulates the matter so that Sweden can offer the federation strategic depth and facilitate access to Finland and the Baltics.
He states that it is for this reason that the DCA agreement on deeper defense cooperation, which will soon be concluded with the United States, is very important.
It could mean, for example, that the United States would store defense materials in Sweden in advance and that US soldiers could, for example, rotate in Sweden.
Like Finland, Sweden has negotiated an agreement that is still awaiting final processing. A similar agreement already exists in Norway and has been negotiated with Denmark.
“It naturally unites the entire (NATO) northern side when Finland and Sweden become NATO members (– –) It is in the interests of the whole of NATO, I would say.”
Jonson sees treaties as a stabilizing and war-preventing deterrent.
“It is a key Nordic interest to strengthen the transatlantic connection and work for a strong US presence in Northern Europe.”