The war in Ukraine might not be over any time soon. America’s spy chief Avril Haines has offered a grim outlook on the possible trajectory of Vladimir Putin’s invasion. She says the conflict could escalate even further – and become even more unpredictable.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would “provide support” if the two Nordic nations were to be attacked. The agreement comes as Sweden and Finland are set to decide whether to join NATO.
Predicting Putin has never been easy. But Haines believes the Russian president has war aims extending far beyond the eastern Donbas region. And that he still has his sights set on regime change.
In order to achieve these aims, Putin would have to resort to more extreme measures, taking charge of industrial output, ordering full military mobilization inside Russia, and employing even more brutality on the battlefield.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said he had agreed on new deals with Sweden and Finland to bolster European security, pledging to support both countries’ armed forces should they come under attack.
Johnson signed the new declarations, described by Britain as “a step-change in defence and security cooperation”, during visits to both Sweden and Finland on Wednesday.
“What it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance,” Johnson said at a news conference in Helsinki.
Asked if Finland would be provoking Russia by joining NATO, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Russian President Vladimir Putin would be to blame for any decision to join the military alliance.
“My response would be that you caused this. Look at the mirror,” Niinisto said.
Speaking earlier alongside the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Johnson said: “The war in Ukraine is forcing us all to make difficult decisions. But sovereign nations must be free to make those decisions without fear or influence or threat of retaliation.”
Britain said the new arrangements would intensify intelligence sharing and accelerate joint military training, exercises and deployments.
Johnson said the nature of any assistance will “depend on the request of the other party”. But he said NATO was a defensive alliance.
“NATO poses no threat to anyone. It is there for the purposes of mutual defence,” he said at the news conference in Helsinki.
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