Sweden ready to host NATO nuclear weapons only during wartime

© Milan Nykodym / Wikimedia Commons

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Sweden would be ready to host NATO nuclear weapons on its soil in the event of a war. 

As they were in the process of joining NATO, both Finland and Sweden mentioned the possibility of housing nuclear bombs as part of the NATO nuclear sharing agreement. 

In December 2023, the Swedish authorities expressed their intention to potentially open 17 military facilities to US forces. This agreement must be approved by the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament, in June 2024. 

Combined with Finland’s 15 bases that were part of a bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement signed on December 18, 2023, this would bring the total to 32 new US bases in Northern Europe.  

With Sweden joining NATO, the question of storing nuclear weapons on its soil has once again become a subject of debate, with several NGOs and political parties opposing the idea and asking the government to clarify its position.  

On May 13, 2024, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addressed the question in an interview with Sveriges Radio,  

“If there is a war against us on our territory, in which Sweden is drawn into after an attack by others, the situation is completely different,” Kristersson commented. “The entire NATO then benefits from the nuclear umbrella that must exist in democracies as long as countries like Russia possess nuclear weapons.” 

During the Cold War, NATO nuclear sharing was established to ensure a quick response to potential nuclear threats from countries like the former Soviet Union. As part of this agreement, several European NATO member states, such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, have hosted US B61 nuclear gravity bombs on different bases.  

In April 2024, in response to the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that Warsaw would be willing to accept the deployment of nuclear weapons on its territory if NATO deemed it necessary. 

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