Russia will not ‘put up with’ Finland, Sweden’s NATO bid, minister says

Sweden and Finland’s move to apply to join NATO is a “grave mistake” and they should have “no illusions” that Moscow will simply accept their decision, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday.

“The situation, of course, is changing radically in light of what is happening,” Ryabkov said, threatening that the “mistake” will have “far-reaching consequences,” Russian news agency Interfax reported.

“They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it,” the deputy foreign minister added.

“The general level of military tension will increase, predictability in this area will become less. It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation,” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a turnaround for the two Social Democrat prime ministers, Sweden’s Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s Sanna Marin, whose parties have stressed neutrality and blocked joining NATO for years.

Both leaders announced last week that their parties now back membership of the alliance, with the national parliaments debating the issue Monday before the governments officially back the decision.

Despite Turkey’s reservations, U.S. and NATO authorities said that they were confident Ankara would not block the bids. New members must be unanimously approved by existing allies to gain entry.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said Monday that the country will send diplomats to Turkey in a bid to overcome Ankara’s objections.