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Russia Says Military Neutrality Of Sweden, Finland Is Crucial For Security

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the military neutrality of Sweden and Finland is fundamental to the security of the Baltic region.

Lavrov made the comments on February 21 at a joint press conference with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.

"We have reiterated our high opinion on the policy of Sweden and, also, Finland that adhere to the nonaligned course in military affairs," Lavrov said. "We see it as an important token of regional stability in the Baltic region and Europe in general."

Wallstrom, for her part, said that "Sweden's policy of nonalignment with military blocs is solid."

Public support for Finland and Sweden to boost ties with NATO or even join the bloc has been rising amid growing tensions between Russia and Europe, particularly since Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and Moscow's active political and military support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In January, Lithuanian Defense Minister Jonas Vytautas Zukas announced that Sweden and Finland were considering sending troops to train jointly with NATO forces deployed in the three Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia last year.

Based on reporting by TASS and The Baltic Times

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