Sweden's government says that NATO may station troops there before Stockholm accedes

Stockholm: Even before it formally joins the defence alliance, Sweden will permit NATO to station troops on its soil, the prime minister and defence minister announced on Friday.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Sweden has applied to join NATO. The application has been delayed due to opposition from Turkey and Hungary, and Sweden now hopes to join by the NATO summit in Lithuania early next month.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Defence Minister Pal Jonson said, "The government has decided that the Swedish Armed Forces may undertake preparations with NATO and NATO countries to enable future joint operations."

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The preparations could include stationing temporary foreign personnel and equipment on Swedish soil. The decision strengthens Sweden's defence and sends a clear message to Russia, they wrote in an opinion piece for the daily Dagens Nyheter.

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They claimed that Russia would continue to pose a threat to its neighbours for the foreseeable future and expressed doubt about President Vladimir Putin's territorial aspirations.

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Finland, a member of the Nordic region and a large neighbour of Russia, joined NATO in April.

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