Russia considering “retaliatory action” after Sweden joins NATO
03/12/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

The Nordic nation of Sweden has formally joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), prompting Russia to mull "retaliatory action" against the bloc's new member.

Stockholm joined NATO after almost two years of political negotiations and amid rising tensions with Russia. Its accession marks a historic shift from its long-standing policy of military neutrality dating back two centuries.

But the move did not sit well with Moscow, which considered the decision an aggressive and misguided step. Given this, Russia declared its intention to take unspecified military-technical and other countermeasures to protect itself against Sweden's NATO membership.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the country would closely monitor Sweden's actions within the "aggressive military bloc" and shape its response with "retaliatory steps of a military-technical and other nature." She also criticized Sweden's NATO membership and linked it to the ongoing escalation of anti-Russian sentiments, which Zakharova claimed were fueled by foreign influences.

The Russian embassy in Stockholm also hinted at potential military and technical countermeasures. These, it added, were dependent on the extent of NATO troops and equipment deployed within Sweden.

In response, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson downplayed Russia's comments. He noted that similar objections were raised when Finland joined NATO. The Swedish leader ultimately emphasized that Russia's disapproval would not influence Sweden's decisions, highlighting the country's preparedness and vigilance in the face of potential Russian responses.

Sweden formally joins NATO after a 23-month process

The decision was prompted by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, leading Sweden and its Nordic partner Finland to conduct a comprehensive review of their national security policy. The Scandinavian nations applied to join the bloc in April 2022, a mere two months after the "special military operation" commenced.

Stockholm formally became part of the bloc in a ceremony held 23 months after the application. The March 7 ceremony involved Kristersson handing over the necessary documentation to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken highlighted the historic nature of this moment, emphasizing the impact on Sweden, NATO and the transatlantic relationship. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also termed it a "historic day" that grants Sweden an equal role in shaping NATO policies.

The accession of Sweden and Finland, both sharing a 1,340 km border with Russia, represents the most substantial expansion of NATO in decades. This move is seen as a strategic challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has consistently opposed NATO's reinforcement and issued threats in response to Sweden's decision. (Related: NATO preparing for World War III.)

As the newest NATO member, Sweden gains access to the alliance's common defense guarantee, which treats an attack on one member as an attack on all. In return, Sweden contributes advanced submarines and domestically produced Gripen fighter jets to NATO forces. This addition is crucial for NATO's strategic positioning, especially in reinforcing the vulnerable Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Beyond the military aspects, the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO is expected to enhance Western cooperation in the Arctic region. With seven out of eight Arctic nations now NATO members, there is potential for stronger collective action to address Russian dominance in the Arctic.

While Sweden's NATO membership has garnered support, concerns persist about Russia's influence in the Baltic Sea region, particularly from the heavily armed exclave Kaliningrad – located between Lithuania and Poland. The Baltic Sea could become a strategic focal point in NATO's efforts, though challenges and uncertainties remain.

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Watch this clip from Sky News about Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat of a nuclear response amid his claims of NATO preparing to strike against Moscow.

This video is from the GodTaughtMeHow channel on

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