Portal: Sweden may contribute to Estonian defense once NATO member
Sweden may contribute to the defense of Estonia once it is a full NATO member, news portal Delfi reports.
Citing a report issued by Sweden's defense forces and covered by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, Delfi reports (link in Estonian) that Sweden sees itself, given its geographical location, as playing a major role in the defense and security of both Finland and the three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and could contribute on land, sea and air.
Not only is there scope for Sweden's air force to contribute to the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission based at Ämari, Estonia, and at Šiauliai, Lithuania, but also for both naval and ground forces to participate, though the report did not elaborate on these, Delfi adds.
Additionally, strategically important parts of Sweden should see a further domestic military presence, in the interests of protecting the region and the alliance.
The report outlined various possible developments once Sweden's NATO membership is finalized, with one representative of its armed forces saying the planning process had progressed "quite far".
Sweden's NATO membership application was filed in May, on the same day that Finland did the same, though while Estonia ratified both countries' membership in early July, some member states have still to do so.
Estonia joined NATO in 2004 and the alliance's jets have been patrolling its airspace, along with that of Latvia and Lithuania, since then.
In practice, Sweden has been taking part in NATO-led exercises and organizations, such as the Tallinn-based Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), for several years now. It has also recently been beefing up its defenses on the strategically-significant island of Gotland, which lies a little more than 100km to the southwest of the Estonian island of Saaremaa.
The original Delfi piece (in Estonian) is here.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte