Swedes Lean Toward NATO, Await Moscow’s Response

"Sweden cannot expect military support if we are not full members"The leadership of Sweden’s Centre Party said Tuesday the time had come for a more serious consideration of joining the military alliance in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine and increasing fears in the Baltic States about Moscow’s intentions.

In an opinion article in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, a group of party leaders wrote, “We lack the ability to defend ourselves” if Russian forces attacked. Additionally, they wrote, “NATO is very clear about the fact that Sweden cannot expect military support if we are not full members of the organization. We can no longer close our eyes to that….”

The presence of Russian bombers skirting Swedish airspace and Russian submarines allegedly stalking its waterways has rattled the Swedish public in recent months, likely pushing some of the change of heart.

“The more Putin has tried to coerce Sweden to not join NATO, the more popular support for NATO membership has risen in Swedish opinion polls,” Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council told Foreign Policy. “The decision by the Centre Party shows that Swedish leaders are joining this growing popular desire to reject Russia’s threats and join their fellow democracies in NATO.

Image: "Sweden cannot expect military support if we are not full members" (photo: NATO)