Boris Johnson stated that the United Kingdom would provide military help to Sweden and Finland if they were attacked, including during their transition to NATO membership.
The British prime minister is visiting Scandinavian countries on Wednesday to sign bilateral security agreements to see the United Kingdom provide military support upon request from its two Nordic neighbors.
The pact is reciprocal, but its primary purpose is to assure Sweden and Finland's security throughout the delicate process of asking for NATO membership - a move that many believe is all but certain and may be confirmed within days. If Stockholm and Helsinki join NATO, Russia's foreign ministry has made veiled threats of "consequences" against them.
"It's important to note that if Sweden were attacked and asked for our assistance and support, we would provide it, but it would be up to Sweden to make the request and specify exactly what assistance is needed," Johnson told reporters during a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, at her country retreat in Harpsund.
He said, "What we are emphatically saying is that in the event of a disaster or an attack on Sweden, the United Kingdom would provide whatever assistance Sweden requested."
Johnson's visit occurs as the two nations investigate what security assurances they may expect from Western allies if they join the transatlantic alliance.
Under the terms of the agreement, the United Kingdom and the two Scandinavian nations will strengthen intelligence sharing, joint military training, and efforts to combat cyberattacks.
Uncertain is how the United Kingdom might assist Sweden and Finland, and Johnson declined to specify whether the United Kingdom's aid would involve nuclear weapons. Andersson reiterated that the agreement with the British was "vital" when questioned if it had a measurable effect on the country's security.
"Are we more secure with this proclamation? True, we are. This has significance, and this is important regardless of the policy decision in Sweden, she stated.
Later on today, Johnson will fly to Finland to sign a similar declaration with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.