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British Navy to defend Stockholm archipelago

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Sweden’s Chief of Naval Staff praised the British marines who have been involved in the Aurora 23 military exercises designed to ready the defence of the Stockholm archipelago in case of a crisis.

The Aurora 23 military exercises, which have taken place since 17 April and are set to end on 11 May, had Sweden’s army, navy, air force and home guard, helped by soldiers from 13 countries, take part in exercises that prepared them in case of a potential foreign attack.

In this context, a Swedish amphibious unit exercised in the Stockholm archipelago together with the British Royal Marines on Monday. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Defence Minister Pål Jonsson and Chief of Naval Staff Ewa Skoog Haslum supervised them.

“Right here, in the archipelago around our coasts, that’s where they will carry out tasks in a coastal defence operation, for example, if someone threatens us,” said Ewa Skoog Haslum, Sweden’s Chief of Naval Staff.

While Sweden’s amphibious units have a unique ability to operate in Sweden due to the country having the most islands in the world, she added that the Royal Marines are also good at operating in such an environment.

“This was a very useful exercise. We can see the advantages and disadvantages of each other’s systems,” said Skoog Haslum.

The UK is one of the countries that has provided Sweden with security insurance in anticipation of NATO membership. Prime Minister Kristersson emphasised that the UK has highly available units that can be quickly deployed in a crisis situation.

According to the Swedish  Defence Minister, the participation of British soldiers in Aurora 23 expresses great commitment to Swedish security.

The Aurora 23 defence exercise shows that Sweden has something to contribute to NATO, Sweden’s prime minister added at a press conference on Monday.

When asked whether it is worth spending large sums of money on exercises, he replied that it is “enough to look east” to get the answer.

He added that the war in Ukraine has also shown the importance of preparing for attacks on civilian infrastructure such as electricity and water supplies.

“Enemies are looking for vulnerabilities, so you can’t be naive and have to be on your guard,” Kristersson told the press.

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