Russia’s ambassador to Stockholm has warned Sweden in a tirade of attacks on the Nordic nation.
Viktor Tatarintsev claimed in a statement on the Russian embassy’s website that Sweden and neighbour Finland would both face ‘retaliatory measures’, including ‘military ones’, if they join the international military alliance.
‘Swedes will be “sent to their deaths” for the interests of others if they join NATO,’ he said.
Sweden has since announced that it has summoned the Russian ambassador to explain his remarks in which he said Sweden and Finland would both become ‘legitimate targets’ after joining NATO.
Sweden’s foreign minister Tobias Billstrom announced today: ‘The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will summon the Russian ambassador to make a clear statement against this blatant attempt at influence.’
‘Sweden’s security policy is determined by Sweden – no one else,’ he added.
Sweden and Finland both sought NATO membership shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. Both governments are hoping to complete the process this year.
The threat against the two Nordic countries is seen as Russia’s latest attempt at a show of strength to the West after it was reported that the Kremlin was staging major nuclear missile exercises.
Viktor went on to say that Sweden’s decision to join NATO was ‘hasty’ and also criticised the country for proceeding without a national referendum on the issue.