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Sweden to send troops to Latvia

by Abbey Fenbert January 9, 2024 5:34 AM 2 min read
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson speaks during a news conference at the People and Defense National Conference in Salen, Sweden, on Jan. 8, 2024. (Pontus Lundahl / TT News Agency / AFP via Getty Images)
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The Swedish government will commit troops to Latvia, where they will join a Canadian-led force in deterring a Russian attack, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced Jan. 8  at an annual defense conference held in Saden.

Though Sweden's accession to NATO is not yet complete, the government has signaled it is ready to contribute to NATO deterrence and the defense of Baltic countries.

"Sweden and its neighbours are living in the direct shadow of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine," Kristersson said.

"But Russia’s threats, disinformation and cyber attacks are an attempt to destabilize the whole of Europe."

Kristersson said that Sweden was ready to "provide ground combat units" to defend the Baltic nations and that it planned to "contribute a reduced battalion to the Canadian-led forces in Latvia" next year.

Canada now commands NATO's battlegroup in Latvia. Battlegroups of about 1,000 troops were stationed in the Baltics after Russia's illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea in 2014.

Canada has said it hopes to double its forces in Latvia by 2026.

According to the Swedish news outlet DN, Sweden plans to send Latvia a mechanized battalion, consisting of around 800 soldiers as well as armored vehicles and combat cars. Sources told DN the unit should arrive in Latvia in early 2025.

Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds thanked Krsitersson in a post on the social media platform X.  

"We are pleased with this important decision, which, together with the upcoming admission of Sweden to NATO, will become a significant investment in strengthening regional security and the defense of Latvia," Spruds said.

Ukraine war latest: Russia launches another mass attack against Ukraine, kills 4, injures 45
Key developments on Jan. 8: * Russian mass attack against Ukraine kills 4, injures 45 * Military says Russia keeps 19,000 troops on Ukraine’s northern border * Russian troops reportedly drop bomb on settlement in occupied Luhansk Oblast * Scholz criticizes EU for providing insufficient military…
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