Sweden: joining NATO to reduce conflict risk gains in the Baltic states

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Linde (right) said today that Sweden’s joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will have a stabilizing effect and benefit countries around the Baltic Sea. On the left is Swedish Defense Minister Hultqvist.Associated Press

SwedenForeign Minister Linde said today that Sweden has joinednato(NATO) will have a stabilizing effect and benefit the countries around the Baltic Sea. The leader of neighboring Finland yesterday expressed her acceptance of joining NATO.

“Sweden’s entry into NATO will raise the bar for military conflict and play a conflict-prevention role in northern Europe,” Ann Linde told the media in a security report to Congress.

The contents of the security report suggested that Sweden would be more vulnerable if it became the only country around the Nordic or Baltic seas that did not join NATO. The report also mentioned that once Sweden applies to join NATO, Moscow may retaliate.

RussiaThe invasion of Ukraine forced Sweden and Finland to abandon their old policy of non-alignment and openly choose sides. The two countries have not joined since 1949, when the US-led NATO was formed.

Finnish President Souli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on the 12th that the country shares a 1,300-km border with Russia and has many historical entanglements in the past. Finland must “immediately” apply to join NATO.

It is widely believed that Sweden is about to follow up with Finland and may apply for membership by the 16th.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultquist also said: “If Sweden decides to pursue NATO membership, it may have to deal with a Russian backlash.”

“Let me say that we are ready for any (Russian) response in this matter,” Hultquist said.

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