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NATO

Sweden’s Nato bid ‘no immediate threat to Russia’, says Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Sweden and Finland joining Nato represented "no immediate threat to Russia", but that if Nato begins to site military infrastructure on their territories Russia would respond.

Sweden's Nato bid 'no immediate threat to Russia', says Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Moscow. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP

Speaking at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which groups Russia with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Putin seemed to tone down the threats to Sweden and Finland which have come in recent days from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and from his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. 

“Russia has no problems with these states. There is no immediate threat to Russia,” he said at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which groups Russia with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. “But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response.” 

Sweden on Monday announced its intention to apply to join Nato, a day after a similar decision from Finland. In Sweden’s case, the decision brings an end to 200 years of various forms of non-alignment. 

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned earlier on Monday that the two countries’ decisions to join the Nato military alliance were serious mistakes and that Moscow would take measures.

“This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences,” he told Russian news agencies. “The general level of military tensions will increase. It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation.”

Ryabkov said the two countries’ security would not strengthen as a result of the move and that Moscow would take measures.

“They should have no illusions that we will just put up with this,” he said.

Moscow has already warned Finland, with which it shares a 1,300 kilometre (800 mile) border, that it would take “reciprocal steps”.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto spoke with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday about the country’s application for Nato membership.

The Kremlin said Putin viewed any end to Finland’s military neutrality as a “mistake”. Finland announced its intention to join Nato on Sunday as Sweden’s ruling party said it backed membership, paving the way for a joint application.

Member comments

  1. Sweden should and will not be bullied by Russia…end of! The West in whatever form will support Sweden until Sweden is a full member. Another sign of desperation from the Kremlin….

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NATO

Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

Swedish motorists were left puzzled this week after mistakenly receiving an air raid warning, an incident authorities termed "serious" on Thursday given the war in Ukraine and Russia's irritation over Sweden's Nato bid.

Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

“We are in the process of investigating how it happened”, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Transport Administration told AFP.

The alert was sent out on Wednesday on a so-called Traffic Message Channel, a system currently being phased out in Sweden that allows motorists to receive traffic updates via their car radio.

The message was sent out in the southern county of Blekinge, which is home to one of Sweden’s biggest air force bases.

“Important traffic message, Blekinge county: Air raid, danger”, appeared on vehicle dashboards, preceded by a danger triangle.

Media outlets then contacted the Transport Administration, informing it that the warning that had been sent out.

It was not immediately known how many motorists received the message. The Transport Administration said it knew “very little” about how it happened, but considered it “serious” given the current situation in the Nordic country and the war in Ukraine.

Moscow has reacted frostily to Sweden’s decision to abandon two centuries of military non-alliance and seek Nato membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russian military aircraft have violated Swedish airspace on several occasions this year before the country formally submitted its Nato application.

Sweden in 2018 reissued a wartime pamphlet to all households advising Swedes how to act in the event of a major crisis or conflict, despite the fact that the country has not experienced a war on its soil in more than 200 years.

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