Finland and Sweden will become “legitimate targets” of Russian “retaliation” once they become NATO members, Russia’s ambassador in Stockholm warned on Tuesday, reviving Moscow’s threatening rhetoric.
“After Finland and Sweden join, the total length of the borders between Russia and NATO will almost double,” Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev argued in a text posted on the website of the Russian mission in Sweden.
“If it still seems to anyone that this will somehow improve Europe’s security, be sure that the new members of the hostile bloc will become a legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature,” the diplomat warned in a lengthy indictment of alliance membership.
The warning came after Moscow had appeared to put aside threats aimed at the two Nordic countries since their historic decision in May 2022 to apply to join the Atlantic alliance.
The applications, which turn the page on decades of neutrality and steering clear of military alliances, are a direct consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As a country sharing a border with Russia, Finland is now just waiting for a Turkish ratification promised by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to join NATO.
Sweden’s application has turned into a diplomatic crossroads and it is currently facing a veto from Ankara, as well as a delay in its ratification by Hungary.
Stockholm still hopes to join before the next NATO summit in July in Vilnius.