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Russia Issues Threat of 'Countermeasures' as Sweden Joins NATO

Published February 29, 2024
3 months ago

The Russian embassy in Stockholm has publicly announced that Russia will take "countermeasures" in response to Sweden's official entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This development comes in the wake of Sweden overcoming the last obstacle to membership when Hungary's parliament ratified Sweden’s bid to join the alliance.

With Sweden set to become the 32nd member of NATO, the Russian embassy released a statement late Tuesday on the messaging platform Telegram, emphasizing potential political and military-technical responses designed to mitigate perceived threats to Russia's national security. While the embassy did not elaborate on specific actions, it hinted that the nature and scale of these measures would be contingent upon how deeply Sweden integrates into NATO structures, highlighting the potential stationing of alliance troops, military assets, and weaponry within Swedish territory as points of concern.

This step away from neutrality comes against the backdrop of Russia's incursion into Ukraine, which sparked security fears in Sweden and prompted the historic policy shift. For two centuries, Sweden had maintained a stance of military non-alignment before applying for NATO membership in tandem with its neighbor Finland.

The Russian statement pointedly remarked upon the ramifications of Sweden joining an alliance that Russia sees as adversarial. It argued that the extension of NATO membership to Sweden could destabilize the strategic Northern European and Baltic Sea regions—a suggestion immediately rebuffed by NATO supporters.

The Russian embassy's message also addressed the perception of the Baltic Sea as a "NATO lake," a term used by some observers to describe the area following Sweden's accession, which leaves Russia as the only Baltic nation outside the military alliance. The embassy's language underscores the geopolitical tensions at play and the sensitivity of security arrangements in this part of Europe.

While Russia's intimations are deliberately vague, they signal a fraught road ahead for security dynamics in Northern Europe as the region grapples with the reality of Sweden's reorientation towards collective defense under NATO's umbrella. Both international and regional observers will be scrutinizing the Kremlin's next moves, as well as NATO's approach to integrating its newest member, in an environment where the reassessments of security alignments are becoming more pronounced by the day.

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