Russia to monitor Sweden’s NATO membership and determine response, says Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

29th February 2024 – (Moscow) Russia has announced its intention to closely monitor Sweden’s actions following its accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), according to Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry. Zakharova stated on Wednesday that Russia would develop its response based on Sweden’s behaviour within the “aggressive military bloc.”

“We will closely monitor what Sweden will do within the aggressive military bloc, how it will implement its membership in practice…and develop our response policy based on this,” Zakharova said.

The spokesperson emphasised that Moscow would carefully consider the measures it would undertake, including military-technical actions, to counter potential threats to Russia’s national security arising from Sweden’s NATO membership.

Zakharova further remarked that Sweden’s long-standing policy of non-alignment had been a crucial element in maintaining stability in Northern Europe. She expressed concern that Sweden’s decision to join NATO would erode its sovereignty, undermining its traditionally neutral stance.

The bill endorsing Sweden’s bid to join NATO was approved by Hungarian lawmakers on Monday, thereby paving the way for Sweden’s accession to the military alliance.

The announcement from Russia highlights the country’s apprehensions regarding the expansion of NATO and its impact on regional dynamics. As Sweden prepares to become a NATO member, Russia seeks to evaluate the implications and respond in a manner aligned with its national security interests.

Sweden’s decision to join NATO marks a significant shift from its previous non-aligned position and carries implications for the geopolitical landscape in Northern Europe. While some argue that NATO membership will enhance Sweden’s security and cooperation with other member states, Russia’s response underscores the potential challenges that may arise as a result.