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NATO

Sweden’s PM: ‘I do not rule out Nato membership’

Sweden's Prime Minister has declared that she no longer rules out Nato membership, in a sign of the shifting position of the ruling Social Democrats.

Sweden's PM: 'I do not rule out Nato membership'
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told SVT that she did not rule out Nato membership. Photo: TT
“I do not rule out Nato membership in any way,” Magdalena Andersson told Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT. “But I want to make a well-founded analysis of the possibilities open to us and the threats and risks and involved, to be able to take the decision that is best for Sweden.” 
Andersson faced criticism from opposition parties earlier this month when she warned that a Nato application from Sweden in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risked “further destabilising the security of this part of Europe”. 
 
 
Her party has also taken a decision at its annual congress not to join Nato, but Andersson told SVT that this decision had been taken in a different geopolitical situation, and could be revised.

“We should note that non-alignment has served Sweden well. It has kept us out of conflicts,” she said. “But when the whole map of security politics is being rewritten, you need to update your analysis and take your decision based on that.” 

 
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, public opinion in Sweden has become increasingly favourable to Nato, with several polls indicating that a majority are now in favour of joining.

At the same time, the opposition Moderate Party has pledged to apply to join Nato if it ends up leading the government after the coming election on September 11th, so long as there is a majority in parliament in favour. 

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SWEDEN AND RUSSIA

Sweden joining Nato ‘no problem for Russia’

Russia has "no problem" if Finland and Sweden join Nato, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Sweden joining Nato 'no problem for Russia'

“We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine,” Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat.

“We don’t have territorial differences. There is nothing that could bother us about Sweden and Finland joining Nato. If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That’s up to them. They can join whatever they want.”

However, “if military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us,” Putin said.

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Sweden and Finland have both decided to apply to join Nato after Russia launched its military operation in pro-Western Ukraine on February 24. The formal process for membership was launched at the Nato summit in Madrid on Wednesday.

Until now, Russia had always been critical of the prospect of the two Nordic countries joining the alliance, saying it would be a “destabilising factor” for international security. Putin nevertheless condemned Nato’s “imperial ambitions”, accusing the alliance of seeking to assert its “supremacy” through the Ukraine conflict.

“Ukraine and the well-being of Ukrainian people is not the aim of the collective West and Nato but a means to defend their own interests,” Putin said. “The Nato countries’ leaders wish to… assert their supremacy, their imperial ambitions.” 

The Atlantic alliance and “above all the United States have long needed an external enemy around which they can unite their allies,” the Russian leader said. “Iran wasn’t good for that. We’ve given them this opportunity… to gather the whole world around them.”

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