Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has stated that a move by Finland and Sweden to join NATO “would be a mistake with far-reaching implications”.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ryabkov suggested that if Stockholm and Helsinki enter NATO, “the general level of military tension will increase, and there will be less predictability in this area”.
“It’s a pity that common sense is being sacrificed to some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation,” he said.According to him, “This is another serious mistake with far-reaching implications. But there’s nothing to be done, such is the level of those who make the appropriate decisions in the respective countries”.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also underscored that the security of Sweden and Finland will not be strengthened as a result of their anticipated accession to NATO.
“The situation, of course, is changing drastically in light of what is happening […] in the countries of northern Europe. […] It is absolutely clear for us that like Finland’s (security), the security of Sweden will not be strengthened as a result of this decision [to join NATO]”, Ryabkov emphasised.He also said that “in what form” Russia “will ensure” its security following the change in NATO’s configuration remains another matter.“
This will depend on what, in practical terms, will be the result of the anticipated accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic alliance. They should not have any illusions that we will simply put up with this,” Ryabkov underscored.The remarks come as the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed out that Finland and Sweden joining NATO “will by all means lead to the emergence of ‘new factors’ in the alliance’s relations with China”.
Finland, Sweden Announce NATO’s Bids
The developments followed Sweden’s ruling Social-Democratic Party saying in a statement on Sunday that the country has officially decided to apply for NATO membership. “The Social Democrats will thereby work to ensure that Sweden, if the application is approved, expresses unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory,” the statement noted.Hours earlier on Sunday, Helsinki announced a similar NATO membership bid, with the government declaring “a new era” for the previously neutral country.
The two Scandinavian nations’ bid for NATO membership has been welcomed by the alliance members, with the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pledging that both Sweden and Finland will be “welcomed with open arms”.
Among those opposing Sweden and Finland joining the alliance is Turkey, which claims that Stockholm and Helsinki back Kurdish militants Ankara considers terrorists. The leader of the ruling party in Italy, Matteo Salvini, also spoke out against the accession of Stockholm and Helsinki to NATO, arguing that “everything that delays the process of achieving peace should be put on a waiting list”.Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov, for his part, warned that “the latest expansion of NATO will not make our continent more stable and secure”. He added that the further strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank would “become an element for a special analysis and the development of the necessary measures to balance the situation and ensure our security.”
He made the comments as Russian President Vladimir Putin told Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto that his country joining NATO “would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland’s security”.