The Swedish Defense announced on Wednesday that Sweden had received, for the first time in its modern history, two American bombers, which are still stuck at NATO’s gates, to participate in military exercises.
• Also read: Armed attack on Sweden ‘cannot be ruled out’
On June 19, two B-1B Lancers strategic bombers landed at Luleå-Kallax Airport in the north of the country.
“We are carrying out a joint exercise” to mobilize the air and ground forces, Air Force spokeswoman Louise Levin told AFP, without specifying its duration.
“In these turbulent times and in order to join NATO, strong partners are essential,” the Ministry of Defense noted in a press release, welcoming a “historic event.”
Although it has had “guest” status since June 2022, Sweden has yet to see its membership ratified by two of NATO’s 31 members, Turkey and Hungary.
Only full members enjoy the protection of NATO’s famous Article 5, which means that an attack on one member would be considered an attack on all.
The Western camp, in particular the United States, is urging Ankara to give the green light.
In early June, Sweden said it was ready to host temporary coalition bases on its territory even before its actual entry into NATO.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote in a joint forum with his defense minister Pal Johnson that “the government has decided that the Swedish Armed Forces can make preparations with NATO and NATO countries to allow joint operations in the future”.
Christerson stressed that the presence of NATO forces will be a deterrent to Russia. On Monday, a Swedish panel made up of politicians from all sides and experts ruled that, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a military attack against Sweden could not be ruled out.