Swedish commander: US should add troops to Europe if Russia-Ukraine crisis worsens

The United States and its European allies have warned Putin that Russia will face stiff sanctions and other sanctions if it attempts another foray, and that it will not waver in its military support for Ukraine. .

President Joe Biden has indicated, however, that he will not send US troops directly to fight in this ongoing war.

Bydén, whose country is not part of NATO but works closely with the military alliance, said America should send military reinforcements to Europe if the Russia-Ukraine crisis worsens.

He did not define what he meant by that, but replied in the affirmative when asked if he would like to see more American troops in his neighborhood if Russia took the initiative to invade. again Ukraine.

“If the situation – I wouldn’t say ‘demand’ because that’s the wrong word – but if the situation were to get worse, I think it would be good to have a bigger footprint,” Bydén said.

When asked where the troops should go, the Swede replied, “probably where they are today.” Because you have bases in Europe. It’s not like you weren’t there. It’s more like… strengthening what you have… More people, more capacity.

Sweden does not host any US military base.

Poland has long wanted to add more US troops to the 5,500 it already hosts under a deal struck under the Trump administration. Latvia also called for a greater US presence, either on a rotating or permanent basis, and suggested it would pay part of the costs to install them there.

Bydén declined to say how many more troops the United States should send. He also declined to give details of his meetings with US officials and what each side has committed to the other.

Asked for comment, a Pentagon spokesperson said: “The Ministry of Defense and the Swedish Ministry of Defense have a long-standing cooperation, as highlighted in the 2016 bilateral declaration of intent. We also benefit from strong trilateral cooperation with Sweden and Finland, both of which are NATO’s Nordic partners for enhanced opportunities.

The Swedish military leader stressed that European countries should step up their own coordination and actions in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine. But when asked if Sweden would join NATO, he noted that was not in the plans of his country’s current government.

“If we show that we are able to take care of what we need to do, the chance to gain support from [the] The United States to a greater extent, more, a bigger footprint in Europe, I think… luck would be much better.

“I don’t take it for granted,” he added. “But the support of your country, the relationship, is also one of the most important elements for European security.”

Bydén expressed confidence in the ongoing intelligence sharing between the United States and his country. He also said he believed the United States was able to maintain close ties with Europe while injecting more resources to deal with an increasingly assertive China.

“It’s not for us either,” he said. “And I wouldn’t expect the United States to just pull out of Europe because of China, but obviously you need to put more effort in that part of the world as well. I think you can do both.

He also noted that China and Russia appear to be deepening their military ties. “We’re seeing more of them than before, and it’s a very good question how far they’ve gone,” he said.

Paul McLeary contributed to this report.

Christi C. Elwood