British army trains with Swedish and Finnish forces

    British troops are seen practising firing weapons in a forest while wearing army uniforms
    British troops taking part in Exercise Vigilant Knife alongside Swedish and Finnish Armed Forces

    British troops have taken part in a military exercise with Swedish and Finnish armed forces as the war in Ukraine continues.

    The Ministry of Defence said Exercise Vigilant Knife would help all three nations’ forces be effective in battle.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year signed a mutual security deal with Sweden and Finland. Mr Johnson travelled to both Sweden and Finland to sign the mutual security deals in May.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also repeated the UK’s support for the two nations’ bid to join Nato. “Whilst there is war in Europe, it is more important than ever to strengthen our international partnerships,” he said.

    “We welcome Finland and Sweden’s application to join Nato and will continue to exercise together so we are ready to face shared security challenges.

    “Exercise Vigilant Knife is an invaluable opportunity for UK personnel to develop their skills and experience of warfighting in cold weather conditions, enabling them to be effective on the battlefield alongside their Finnish and Swedish counterparts.”

      The command-post exercise took place in Rovaniemi and Rovajarvi, in northern Finland, between Monday and Friday.

      The pacts added that both the countries would also help the UK in a crisis. The outgoing prime minister said at the time the agreement would become the “foundation of an intensification of our security and our defence relationship in other ways as well”.

      Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Sweden and Finlad submitted applications to join Nato, also in May. However, Turkey only agreed to offer approval if the two nations agreed to extradite people it regards as terror suspects.

      The alliance’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called it “a historic moment, which we must seize”. Out of the 30 members of Nato, 23 have already ratified the membership.

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