Blinken to visit Luleå amid Arctic fighter jet exercise
While Sweden is waiting on the doorsteps to NATO, the US Secretary of State sends a strong signal of support as he starts his Nordic visit at Norrbotten Wing, home to Sweden’s northern fighter jets base.
The hope was for Sweden to join North Atlantic Alliance ahead of the Vilnius NATO Summit in July.
Security is on the agenda, but the Government in Stockholm has released few details about the upcoming meeting. A day ahead of Blinken’s visit is the start of Arctic Challenge 2023, Europe’s largest air force exercise that will gather 14 nations. War games with about 150 fighter jets will take place in the skies above Norway, Sweden and Finland until June 9.
The US aircraft carrier “USS Gerald R. Ford” is this weekend visiting Oslo, but will sail north on Monday, to the waters west of Helgeland near the Arctic Circle where the powerful carrier group is expected to train together with NATO allies.
After Luleå, Blinken will participate in an informal meeting among NATO foreign ministers in Oslo on May 31 and June 1. Russia’s war on Ukraine and the changing security situation in Europe are on the agenda. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström will attend the Oslo meeting.