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NATO

Russia warns of ‘consequences’ if Sweden and Finland join NATO

Russia's foreign ministry on Friday warned of unspecified "consequences" should Finland and Sweden join the US-led NATO defence alliance, after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.

NATO ship on its way through the Stockholm archipelago after the visit to Stockholm.
NATO ship on its way through the Stockholm archipelago after a visit to Stockholm. 23rd March 2022 Photo: Urban Andersson / TT

Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine have sparked a dramatic U-turn in public and political opinion in both Finland and Sweden over long-held policies of military non-alignment.

Finland said this week it will decide whether to apply for NATO membership within weeks, and Sweden is also discussing joining the alliance.

“The choice is up to the authorities of Sweden and Finland. But they should understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the architecture of European security as a whole,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

She added that Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO is “unlikely to contribute to strengthening (their) international prestige”.

Zakharova said that the non-alignment policy of the two countries “provided a reliable level of security”, while membership in a military alliance is “not capable of strengthening their national security”.

“They will automatically find themselves on the NATO frontline,” Zakharova said.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned on Thursday that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons close to the three Baltic states and Scandinavia if Finland or Sweden decided to join.

READ MORE:

INTERVIEW: ‘Nato will process a Swedish application quickly’

Swedish PM on Nato: ‘I see no point in delaying the process’

Member comments

  1. Instead of throwing ourself in prestige and ego battleground, I wish Govt. think about their people and avoid unnecessary consequences. We had enough of war impact globally, why to instigate by such steps when its not needed at the time.
    Government should first think of Swedish people and than worry about global image. Hope they will think for people first 🙁

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NATO

Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden’s NATO bid

Erdogan signalled on Saturday that no progress had been made in Sweden's bid to join NATO, urging Stockholm to take "concrete actions" to meet Ankara's concerns, his office said.

Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden's NATO bid

In a phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Erdogan reiterated that “Sweden should take steps regarding such fundamental matters as combatting terrorism”, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Turkey “wanted to see binding commitments on these issues together with concrete and clear action,” he added.

Finland and Sweden discussed their stalled NATO bids with Turkey in Brussels on Monday, but Ankara dampened hopes that their dispute will be resolved before an alliance summit next week.

Turkish officials said Ankara does not view the summit as a final deadline for resolving Ankara’s objections. Ankara has accused Finland and in particular Sweden of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants whose decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdogan told Andersson that Sweden “should make concrete changes in its attitude” toward the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates, the presidency said.

“In this regard no tangible action aimed at addressing Turkey’s concerns was seen to have been taken by Sweden”, it added.

READ ALSO: Hopes fade for Sweden’s swift Nato accession

The Turkish leader also voiced expectations that Sweden would lift an arms embargo against Turkey that Stockholm imposed in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.

He also said he hopes that restrictions on Turkey’s defence industry would be lifted, and that Sweden will extradite several people Ankara has accused of involvement in terrorism.

The phone call comes after Erdogan discussed the two countries’ bid with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. Erdogan also told Stoltenberg that “Sweden and Finland should take concrete and sincere steps” against outlawed Kurdish militants, the presidency said.

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