Nato expansion shows Putin is ‘completely wrong’
Vladimir Putin’s hopes of a diminished Nato have been proved “completely wrong” by Sweden and Finland joining the alliance, Boris Johnson said.
The two Nordic countries are on track to end their historic neutrality and join the defence alliance after Turkey withdrew its objections.
Arriving at a summit of Nato leaders in Madrid, where he will commit extra UK forces to the alliance’s effort to protect its eastern flank, the Prime Minister said Russian President Mr Putin is getting “more Nato”, not less, as a result of his actions in Ukraine.
The UK already has a significant military presence in Estonia and the Prime Minister will use the summit to expand its headquarters in the Baltic nation.
Officials said this will ensure the UK can provide rapid reinforcements if needed, and deploy artillery, air defence and helicopters.
The alliance plans to have 300,000 troops at high readiness – up from the current 40,000 – and the UK will commit capabilities in land, air and sea to the “new force model”.
Mr Johnson said: “The first lesson really from today is that if Vladimir Putin was hoping he would be getting less Nato on his western front as a result of his unprovoked, illegal invasion of Ukraine, he’s been proved completely wrong – he’s getting more Nato.
“This is a historic summit in many ways, but we’ve already got two new members coming in, Finland and Sweden, a huge step forward for our alliance.
“And what we’re going to be doing now is talking about what more we can do as an alliance to support the Ukrainians but what we also need to do to make sure that we think about the lessons of the last few months and the need for Nato to revise its posture on its eastern flank.”