Russia and Sweden to conduct joint military exercises

Russia and Sweden will conduct joint military exercises in Sweden in early 2006, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency. Ivanov made the announcement after meeting his Swedish counterpart, Leni Bjorklund, who began a three-day visit Monday. The report said the planned exercises would include Russian motorized infantry groups but did not give other details. Ivanov said he and Bjorklund agreed to widen contacts between their countries' militaries, the report said. That broadening would involve direct contacts between military units in southern Sweden and Russian forces in the Kaliningrad exclave, across the Baltic Sea from Sweden.

Bjorklund on Tuesday is expected to meet with officials at the Emergency Service Ministry to discuss joint responses to emergencies. AM

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