The candidacies of Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are a “serious mistake” that will further escalate Russia’s tensions with the West, said on Monday (16) the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergei Ryabkov.
Riabkov said that “the level of tension” between his country and the West will increase if the new accessions take place.
“It is an additional serious mistake, the consequences of which will be far-reaching,” the deputy minister said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Also on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would “closely monitor” Finland and Sweden’s NATO candidacies, which he said would not strengthen the “security architecture of Europe”. .
Riabkov said that the answer of Russia “will depend on the practical consequences of accession” of the two Nordic countries to the western military alliance.
“It is clear to us that the security of Sweden and Finland will not be enhanced by this decision,” he said.
Border between Russia and Finland — Photo: Arte/g1
On Sunday (15), Finland reaffirmed its intention to apply for NATO membership. On the same day, Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party approved the candidacy for the military alliance in the country’s parliament.
Swedish military plane and tanks on the island of Gotland, a tourist destination in the country where the government has announced an increase in the presence of the army due to threats from Russia in the Baltic Sea (Photo: Associated Press)
Both countries maintained for the decade the model of neutrality, by which they did not adhere to any military alliance and did not send troops abroad. The two did not join NATO even during the Cold War.
The change of course, considered the main movement of world geopolitics as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is considered a major threat by Russia, which claims that NATO has been seeking to approach its territory in recent years.
Finland, Russia’s neighbor, shares 1,300 kilometers of border with the country.
Ukraine’s flag is raised amid Easter celebrations in Helsinki, Finland’s capital (Photo: Emmi Korhonen/Lehtikuvavia Reuters)
Russia justified, among other allegations, the offensive against Ukraine for its rapprochement with NATO and for the organization’s political, diplomatic and military support for the Ukrainian government. Moscow intended in this way to drive Westerners away from its borders.
Alliance countries are also supplying large amounts of weapons to Ukrainian forces that have been fighting the Russian army for nearly three months.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson gives an interview before the Swedish Parliament discusses the country’s entry into NATO, on May 16, 2022 (Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AFP)