The announcement came in the wake of a visit to Stockholm last Wednesday by US Senator John McCain, during which he met Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, Defense Minister Hultqvist and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Sverker Göranson.
“John McCain as chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services plays a central role in American policy, and coming to Sweden was not only a courtesy call, but part of a process that is about deepening and developing our cooperation with the US,” Peter Hultqvist said.
Discussions about Russia were high on the agenda.
Describing the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin as “authoritarian and nationalistic”, Peter Hultqvist said closer military ties with the US could help preserve peace and security.
He said the reason was “Russian actions which have unsettled the security situation that has reigned in Europe since the end of the Cold War in 1991.”
Hultqvist then said that the current situation meant it was in Sweden’s best interest to develop cooperation with neighboring countries and strengthen transatlantic ties.
“It’s about creating a balance and that includes a strategy to preserve peace and security,” he said.
According to an earlier report by Russia’s news agency REGNUM, Sweden will ramp its defense spending for 2016-2020 up to 10.2 billion crowns ($1.2 billion) to modernize its submarine detection and interception ships “amid Russia’s growing military presence in the Baltic Sea region.”