British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Sweden on Wednesday and agreed that relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin should never be normalized.
“The leaders agreed that the aftershocks of Putin’s abhorrent invasion of Ukraine had fundamentally changed international security architecture,” a spokesman for Johnson said following the meeting. “They underlined that relations with Putin could never be normalized.”
The statement is the latest example of Western leaders suggesting they want to see Putin removed from office. On Tuesday, Lithuania’s foreign minister explicitly called for regime change in Moscow, claiming it was the only way for regional countries to be safe from Russia.
During his visit to Sweden, Johnson signed a military pact that vowed Britain would come to Sweden’s defense if it was attacked. “Whether it’s in the event of a disaster or a military attack, what we’re saying today is that upon request from the other party, we would come to the other parties’ assistance,” Johnson said at a press conference with Andersson.
The new pact comes as Sweden and Finland are considering applying to join NATO. Johnson also visited Finland on Wednesday and made a similar pledge to defend the country if it is attacked.
Sweden and Finland are expected to make a decision on joining NATO sometime this week and are seeking security guarantees from alliance members during a potential application period. Moscow has warned against the two nations joining NATO, and Russian officials have said Russia will have to reinforce the over 800-mile border with Finland.