Swedish PM rebuffs opposition calls to consider joining NATO
Magdalena Andersson believes any initiative of the sort would only serve to ignite further turmoil in the inflamed region.
Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson rejected opposition calls to consider joining NATO in the aftermath of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, on Tuesday, saying that doing so now would destabilize European security.
Sweden has not been at war since 1814 and has built its foreign policy on non-participation in military alliances, but as tensions with Russia in the Baltic region have risen, it has forged ever-closer ties to NATO.
Russia's special military operation has reignited calls for Sweden to join NATO, joining Finland, which has also remained outside the alliance.
Furthermore, Andersson told reporters that "if Sweden were to choose to send in an application to join NATO in the current situation, it would further destabilize this area of Europe and increase tensions.”
"I have been clear during this whole time in saying that what is best for Sweden's security and for the security of this region of Europe is that the government has a long-term, consistent and predictable policy and that is my continued belief."
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderates, urged the government to start comprehensive domestic political discussions about NATO membership, a debate that has been already underway in Finland.
"It is urgent," Kristersson told news agency TT.
"We can't get behind a wind-break and hope that it all blows over and then be surprised by a Finnish decision in a month or two."
Finland and Sweden have close military ties, and if one decides to join NATO, the other will be under even more pressure to do so.
It is worth mentioning that the whole dispute over Ukraine and the Russian-Western issue altogether is caused by NATO looking to admit Ukraine and other neighboring countries as a member of the alliance, with Moscow opposing such accession due to security concerns.
Russia has for months been warning of the threat posed against it by NATO's attempts to expand eastward, which happened simultaneously with an increase in NATO military activity along Russia's borders, and batches of lethal weapons being sent to Ukraine, prompting Russia to request security guarantees from the West. Washington failed to provide the guarantees.
Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a special military operation in Donbass over the constant Ukrainian shelling of Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, whose independence Moscow recognized a few days ahead of the operation.