Russia’s Defense Minister Threatens Response To Sweden and Finland Increasing Cooperation with NATO

Russia’s defense minister has said NATO’s increasing ties with Sweden and Finland are “worrying” and such actions force his nation to “take response measures.”

A treaty was signed in May that provides for [Sweden and Finland’s] full participation in the exercises of the alliance and the possibility of using its command-and-control systems for troops and weapons,” Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday, according to state-run media. “In exchange, NATO received unrestricted access to the airspace and territorial waters of these countries.”

Shoigu said that “such steps by Western colleagues” work to harm the current system of global security and create “greater mistrust, forcing us to take response measures.”

Following a NATO summit in Brussels earlier this month, the alliance’s heads of state and government met with leaders of Sweden and Finland to “discuss shared security challenges,” according to an official statement.

Image: Russia Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, February 27, 2013 (photo: Office of the President of Russia)