Swedish commander: U.S. should add troops in Europe if Russia-Ukraine crisis deepens, politico.com

If the conflict between Russia and Ukraine deepens, the United States should send more troops to reinforce its military presence in Europe, the head of Sweden’s armed forces says.

Gen. Micael Bydén, the Swedish supreme commander, spoke to POLITICO Thursday amid a visit to Washington where he met with counterparts including Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Russia’s menacing of Ukraine is top of mind for Sweden as well as neighboring countries. President Vladimir Putin has amassed nearly 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, which Moscow earlier invaded in 2014. […]

Bydén, whose country is not part of NATO but works closely with the military alliance, said America should send military reinforcements to Europe if the Russia-Ukraine crisis takes a turn for the worse. He didn’t define what he meant by that, but responded affirmatively when asked if he’d like to see more U.S. troops in his neighborhood should Russia take the step of once again invading Ukraine.

“If the situation — I wouldn’t say ‘require’ because that’s the wrong word — but if the situation would worsen, I do believe it would be good to have a bigger footprint,” Bydén said.

Asked where the troops should go, the Swede said, “probably where they are today. Because you have bases in Europe. It’s not like you’re not there. It’s more it’s more like… reinforce what you have… More people, more capabilities.”[…]

Bydén declined to say how many more troops the United States should send. He also declined to give details about his meetings with U.S. officials and what each side pledged to the other.

Asked for comment, a Pentagon spokesperson said: “The Department of Defense and the Sweden Ministry of Defense enjoy long-standing cooperation as highlighted in the 2016 Bilateral Statement of Intent. We also enjoy strong trilateral cooperation with Sweden and Finland, both of which are Nordic NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partners.”

The Swedish military leader stressed that European countries should step up their own coordination and actions in the event of a Russian move against Ukraine. But when asked if Sweden would join NATO, he noted that was not in his country’s current government’s plans. Läs artikel