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Russian Foreign Minister mocks Löfven's 'childish' election interference fears

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Russian Foreign Minister mocks Löfven's 'childish' election interference fears
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pictured earlier this week. Photo: TT
09:12 CEST+02:00
Sergey Lavrov has labelled Sweden's Prime Minister "childish" for expressing fears over Russian influence in Sweden's election next year.

In an interview with US magazine National Interest, Lavrov said there was "no proof" Russia was involved in the US elections or has interfered in Germany and France ahead of their respective elections this year. 

He then said: "By the way, I read yesterday that the Swedish prime minister is becoming nervous that they also have elections very soon and that Russia would 100 percent be involved in them."

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in January he could not rule out the possibility that Russia may try to influence the Swedish general election in 2018.

READ ALSO: Suspected spies found working at Swedish agencies

Speaking at Sweden's People and Defence conference, Löfven said "we should not be naive and think that it doesn't happen here". He repeated these concerns in a Dagens Nyheter opinion piece earlier this month, saying there had already been signs of attempts to affect Sweden's security.

Lavrov dismissed these worries as "childish".

"You either put some facts on the table or you try to avoid any statements which embarrass you, even if you don't believe this is the case," he said.

Relations between Sweden and Russia have been frosty in recent years, with Swedish security services reporting that Russian spies are operating in the country and Russia in turn accusing Sweden of peddling "James Bond theories" instead of using diplomatic channels to discuss its fears.

READ ALSO: The four big security challenges facing Sweden today

Last December, Russia's ambassador in Stockholm said the country had no plans to invade Sweden, and that "the Swedish population can sleep easy".

On Friday Löfven and Deputy PM Isabella Lövin will meet with the opposition to discuss efforts to counter foreign influence on the upcoming election. Sweden's security police Säpo will participate in the meeting.

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