STOCKHOLM, September 23 (Reuters) – Sweden will sign a defense cooperation agreement with Norway and Denmark this week to counter a deteriorating security situation in the Baltics, Sweden’s TV4 said on Thursday.
Sweden, which is not a member of NATO but has close ties with the bloc, is rebuilding its military after decades of neglect due to growing tensions with Russia in the Baltics.
“If there is a crisis situation, we will be much better prepared by coordinating our planning in this region,” Hultqvist told TV4.
“In practice, we will be able to react faster.”
He said the combined resources of the three countries would help deter a potential antagonist.
Sweden has increased military spending – including agreeing to buy Patriot missiles from the United States – and deepened its military cooperation with NATO and neighboring countries such as Finland in recent years in response to rising tensions with Russia.
“We know that Russia is ready to use military force to achieve its political goals and objectives,” Hultqvist said.
“We are deepening our cooperation with the other countries in this region precisely to raise the bar to prevent disruptions and crises.”
Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Johan Ahlander
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