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Sweden puts Russian military ties on ice

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Sweden puts Russian military ties on ice
07:28 CEST+02:00
Sweden said on Monday it was freezing its military ties with Moscow as a result of Russia's incursion into Georgia.

"In the current crisis situation, the government believes that it is for the time being not appropriate for Sweden to carry out military exercises with Russia or exchange visits between individual units," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement.

"A Swedish naval visit that was planned in a Russian harbour in September has been cancelled," he added.

Reinfeldt's comments came following an extraordinary meeting of Sweden's Advisory Council of Foreign Affairs, presided by Crown Princess Victoria in the king's absence, on the situation in Georgia.

Niclas Bengtsson, a spokesman for the prime minister, told AFP that several other naval visits had also been cancelled, but said he did not know the exact number.

No military exercises had been planned, he said.

In its statement, the prime minister's office insisted "the Russian troops must halt all activity that is destabilizing Georgia, for instance the destruction of infrastructure or blockades of important roads."

"The Russian incursion into Georgia is unacceptable and a crime against international law," the statement added.

Last week, the United States, Britain and Canada each cancelled joint military exercises with Russia to voice criticism of Moscow's military operation in Georgia.

Georgia on August 8th launched a military offensive against its pro-Russian breakaway republic South Ossetia -- which unilaterally declared its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union -- in order to regain control.

The Georgian operation failed after Moscow intervened, sending troops, tanks and warplanes into South Ossetia to defend Russian citizens in the breakaway republic

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