Russian ambassador summoned in Sweden over controversial NATO comments
Sweden's foreign ministry has summoned Russia's ambassador over an "attempt at interference" with its NATO membership process.
In a statement on the embassy’s website, the Russian diplomat claimed that joining NATO made the Nordic countries "a legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature", Reuters reports.
Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström called the statement an "obvious attempt at interference", with the ministry’s spokesperson confirming to Reuters that the Russian ambassador would be summoned.
Sweden is seeking membership of NATO along with Finland, and is hoping to complete the process this year.
It, however, has encountered opposition from Turkey, which claims Stockholm has not done enough to combat terrorist threats, and Hungary, whose leadership has been indignant at Sweden’s criticism of the rule of law in the country.
Earlier in March, Turkey and Hungary decided to go ahead with ratifying Finland’s application, leaving Sweden behind.