May 21, 2024

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US bombers in Sweden for military training, first time

US bombers in Sweden for military training, first time

Sweden, still stuck in the gates of NATO, welcomed two US bombers for military training for the first time in its modern history, Swedish Defense announced on Wednesday.

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On June 19, two B-1B Lancers strategic bombers landed at Luleå-Kallax Airport in the north of the country.

“We are conducting a joint exercise” mobilizing air and ground forces, Air Force spokesman Louis Levin told AFP, without giving a timeframe.

“In these uncertain times and with the aim of joining NATO, strong partners are essential,” the defense ministry said in a press release, hailing the “historic event”.

Despite having “guest” status from June 2022, Sweden has yet to have its membership recognized by two of the 31 members of the Atlantic Alliance, Turkey and Hungary.

Only full members enjoy the protection of NATO’s famous Article 5, which means that an attack on one member is considered an attack against all.

The Western camp, especially the US, is urging Ankara to give the green light.

In early June, Sweden said it was willing to host temporary alliance bases on its soil before it could effectively join NATO.

“The government has decided that the Swedish Armed Forces can carry out preparations with NATO and NATO countries to allow for future joint operations,” Prime Minister Ulf Kristerson wrote in a joint forum with his Defense Minister Paul Johnson.

Mr Christerson insists the presence of Nato troops will be a deterrent to Russia. On Monday, a Swedish commission made up of politicians and experts from all sides ruled that a military strike against Sweden could not be ruled out in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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