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Russia warns Sweden and Finland – understand the consequences of joining NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Foreign Ministers of Finland, Pekka Haavisto, and Sweden, Ann Linde at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels earlier this month (Image courtesy: NATO)

Russia has warned Sweden and Finland to "understand the consequences" of joining NATO, saying the "negative consequences" for peace and stability in Northern Europe are obvious after any such move.

Moscow believes that potential membership in NATO is unlikely to contribute to the strengthening of the international prestige of Sweden and Finland, which in their history were the "conductors of many constructive, uniting initiatives".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that with the entry into the North Atlantic bloc, Stockholm and Helsinki will lose this opportunity.

"It is no secret that the territories of these countries have long been mastered by NATO, large-scale military exercises were held. Why the alliance needs this is understandable. The goal is to continue building up military potential and geographical expansion, to create another flank for Russian threats," said Russian MFA Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Friday while replying to a media question regarding assessments of the possible intention of Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

Zakharova said that the discussion around the possible entry of these countries into NATO has now become much more active which was preceded in recent years by a "purposeful campaign by external forces" to draw Sweden and Finland into the North Atlantic bloc.

The Russian spokesperson said that, for decades, the foreign policy line of military non-alignment has provided a reliable level of security for Sweden and Finland, served as a solid basis for building mutually beneficial and equal cooperation between the countries and Russia, strengthening partnerships in which the role of the military factor has been reduced to zero.

"NATO membership is not capable of strengthening their national security. They will automatically be on the NATO front line. Moreover, membership in NATO implies, in fact, the renunciation of part of the sovereignty in the development of decisions in the field of defense, and in foreign policy as well," she said.

Moscow also says it remains unclear why its Finnish and Swedish neighbours in the Baltic region will turn into "a new frontier of confrontation" between the NATO bloc and Russia.

"Naturally, the choice is up to the authorities of Sweden and Finland. But they should also understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole, which is now in a state of crisis," said Zakharova. 

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