Sweden to Send 800 Troops to Latvia Despite Pending NATO Membership

Sweden is planning to send 800 troops to Latvia early next year to reinforce NATO’s presence in the country, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced.

Swedish soldiers will guard Latvia’s border to deter Russian forces, joining forces with a Canada-led battle group already in the area.

Ten more countries currently make up the military presence in Ādaži, including Albania, Italy, Poland, and Spain.

The move comes as Stockholm waits to be included in NATO as its 32nd member.

Sweden’s induction is seemingly near completion, with only Turkey and Hungary left to ratify its membership.

Increasing Presence in Latvia

Canada has the largest number of troops in Latvia with 1,700.

The country has already pledged to increase its military contingent to 2,200 troops by 2026.

Canada is also preparing to send Griffon and Chinook helicopters, as well as build new military infrastructure amounting to 15 million Canadian dollars ($11.2 million.)

Sweden’s NATO Membership

Sweden decided to drop its centuries-old military neutrality as Russian troops began occupying Ukrainian territory.

Last year, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the country would approve Sweden’s membership bid once Stockholm begins to crack down on militant Kurdish groups. The latter agreed to extradite the organization’s apprehended members and supporters, as well as boost its anti-terrorism laws.

Additionally, Erdogan said that their ratification of the membership will come after the US approves their requested purchase of F-16 fighter jets.

Still, Sweden has expressed its readiness to assist the alliance from outside. In 2023, Kristersson stated that they are open to establishing NATO bases inside the country to both send “a clear signal to Russia” and to strengthen Sweden’s defense.

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