On Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said how Russia’s reaction has been “rather mild” as Sweden gets to join NATO. Despite that, her country is fully prepared in case Moscow retaliates with cyberattacks or any other mode of aggression.
Andersson’s reply was in response to this statement by the Russian former President.
Meanwhile, in Moscow …
Any encroachment on Crimea by a NATO ally would be a “declaration of war” on Russia, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said today.
He added that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Moscow is “ready for retaliatory steps.” https://t.co/qjDOvbJFum
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) June 28, 2022
In an interview with POLITICO, after Finland and Sweden reached a historic deal to join NATO, Andersson said,
“The response from Russia has been rather mild, which I think makes a lot of sense. Russia knows that we have been a partner to NATO for a long time, that we have had close cooperation with NATO for many years. So maybe they don’t see this as such a big step.”
She also added:
“But of course, we have increased our preparedness for [a] potential response from Russia, for instance, when it comes to cyber.”
Turkey was the only country opposing Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO but Ankara had a change of mind on Tuesday a night before the NATO leaders’ summit which took place in Madrid. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg even regarded the agreement as a “historic decision.”
In her interview, Andersson described the development as one to be written down in history. “This was a historic day for Sweden and for NATO yesterday. My ambition is that that will not only increase security in Sweden and Finland, but in NATO as a whole.”
NATO had allowed Sweden and Finland to be partner nations for a long time, specifically with their advanced militaries and their interoperability with other ally nations.
However, with Finland and Sweden as allies, NATO will hugely benefit by gaining weather war-fighting capabilities. These two countries will certainly be a handful for Russia in case it sends threats in the Arctic which is considered a strategically competitive battleground.
Andersson went on to reveal that when she visited Norway in March, she was met with a huge consensus in this regard while observing Operation Cold Response which is a NATO training exercise, and talking to the military personnel.
According to her:
“They all said it was very good for soldiers from some countries where there is not so much snow to practice in the northern part of Norway because they were not used to the conditions. So now there will be two other allies that are used to ice, snow and very cold weather — minus 40 degrees.”
She said that the two neighboring countries, Sweden and Finland are joining NATO not only to increase the protection of other allied countries but also to protect themselves.
“Because a member of NATO is something that, of course, would increase security in Sweden and then in Finland, but we have the ambition that we will be security providers to NATO as a whole, and to all NATO countries. We are right now in the midst of the largest buildup of our military, our defense since the ’50s.”
She also on to boast about her country’s defense capabilities:
“We are strong on the water, under the water, and in the sky. And together with Finland, they’re very strong on the ground, I think we, together, will really provide for more security to NATO.”
Whether Russia acts upon its warning for Sweden and Finland or not, since the two countries blatantly ignored it and became members of NATO anyway, only time will tell.