British Air Force to guard Iceland during Council of Europe summit

OSLO (Reuters) - Iceland's government said on Sunday a squadron of the British Air Force will patrol the Nordic nation's skies next week when leaders from across Europe are due to meet in Reykjavik to discuss the continent's security and support for Ukraine.

The May 15-19 airspace protection agreement signed by the two countries will provide security before, during and after a summit of the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights watchdog, which is meeting in Iceland on May 16 and 17.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is among the government leaders expected to attend the meeting of the 46-nation council. Russia in March last year quit the group, pre-empting an expected expulsion over its attack on neighbour Ukraine.

The summit will be the largest international event held in Iceland, according to the government. The island nation situated in the North Atlantic ocean has a population of fewer than 400,000 people and no standing army or air force of its own.

The airspace security arrangement was made in coordination with the wider NATO alliance, of which Iceland and Britain are both members, the Icelandic foreign ministry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo; Editing by Matthew Lewis)