Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven replied to a comment of the head of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Stockholm’s possible joining NATO, The Local reported on Friday, April 29.
Löfven noted that the minister's words were "absolutely useless" and stressed that none was interested in Moscow's opinion on this issue. "We, Swedes, make up independent decisions about our defense and security policy. In this regard, we demand respect for ourselves as well as we respect the decisions of other countries," Swedish prime minister stressed.
According to Löfven, Sweden has been enjoying a neutral status for a long time and this has served it well. "We have noted this many times, and Moscow knows about this," he concluded.
On April 28, giving an interview to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter Lavrov said that Moscow is to respond to possible Sweden’s joining NATO with military-technical measures on its northern borders. At the same time, the minister notes that if Stockholm decides to join the alliance, Russia "won’t think that the Swedes decide to attack us."
"It's one thing to have neutral states among the northern neighbors and it’s quite another thing if they are members of NATO that, once again, we considers to be reality, but that has been proclaiming Russia’s deterrence as its main goal calling it a major threat," Lavrov said.
The first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council Yevgeny Serebrennikov in his turn said that Russia was about to finish creation of a new generation of missiles which are invulnerable to the alliance’s missile defense system. The newest weapons can be located on the northern borders of the country if Sweden joins NATO, he notes.