Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced that the United States is ready to provide military support to NATO accession candidates Sweden and Finland if necessary. He stressed that it is none of Moscow’s business whether countries join NATO or not.
On Sunday, both Finland and Sweden officially announced their intention to join NATO – despite multiple warnings from Russia Moscow sees the planned NATO enlargement as an imminent threat to its security and has announced appropriate measures.
In a BBC interview taped Friday and aired Sunday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Russia’s warnings were “clearly worrying.” He added:
“But it’s not up to Russia to decide whether Finland and Sweden become NATO allies, it’s up to the people of Finland and Sweden.”
When asked whether the US would send troops to defend Finland and Sweden if they were attacked, Kirby initially said he didn’t want to speculate on a hypothetical scenario, but gave a lengthy answer nonetheless.
Kirby stressed that both Finland and Sweden had very modern armed forces that US forces were happy to work with. The close ties between the US and the two northern European countries would allow Washington to provide military support to Helsinki and Stockholm.
Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, and Sweden have decided to reconsider their longstanding nonaligned policy after public opinion is said to have changed sharply after the start of Russian military action in Ukraine. According to recent polls, a majority in both countries is said to be in favor of NATO membership.
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