Sweden announced, on Wednesday, the summoning of the Russian ambassador in Stockholm the day after his statements in which the Scandinavian country and Finland threatened to become, once they join NATO, “legitimate targets” for “retaliatory operations from Moscow,” including “military.”
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said: “The Foreign Ministry will summon the Russian ambassador to clearly denounce this transparent attempt at influence.”
“Only Sweden decides its national security policy, no one else,” he stressed in a written statement to AFP.
Russia’s ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev warned on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden would become “legitimate targets” for Russian “retaliation” once they became NATO members, reigniting threatening rhetoric from Moscow after a lull.
“After the accession of Finland and Sweden, the total length of the border between Russia and NATO will almost double,” the diplomat said in a text posted on the website of the Russian mission in Sweden.
“If it still seems to anyone that this will somehow improve the security of Europe, then rest assured that the new members of the hostile bloc will become a legitimate target for Russian reprisals, including those of a military nature,” the diplomat warns.
In a long indictment against joining the alliance, Sweden is believed to be “taking a step into the abyss” by wanting to join NATO.
This warning comes as Moscow has appeared in recent months to set aside threats against two Nordic capitals since its historic decision last May to apply to join NATO.
The nominations, which turn the page on decades of neutrality and then exit military alliances, are a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A neighboring country to Russia, Finland is just waiting for the Turkish ratification promised by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to join NATO.
As for Sweden, its candidacy has turned into a diplomatic path of the cross and is currently facing a veto from Ankara, as well as a delay in its ratification by Hungary.
However, Stockholm still hopes to join before the next NATO summit in July in Vilnius.
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