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Lawmaker: Sweden's hypothetical decision to abandon neutrality policy to trigger concern

April 29, 2016, 15:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Russian lawmaker Franz Klintsevich, Sweden’s possible accession to NATO wouldn't create a military threat as Russia has created a good basis in military-technical terms

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MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. Sweden’s possible accession to NATO is unlikely to create a military threat to Russia, but Stockholm’s hypothetical decision to renounce its neutrality policy would be a cause for concern, Franz Klintsevich, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee, told reporters on Friday.

"I do not think that Sweden’s accession to NATO poses a serious threat to Russia militarily," Klintsevich said commenting on the debate in Sweden on seeking NATO membership due to new challenges and threats. He added that in recent years Russia has created a good basis in military-technical terms that makes it possible to respond to any challenges. He acknowledged though that "from the standpoint of the US Prompt Global Strike concept, Sweden, if it becomes a NATO member, will be a potential site for carrying out this strike, which, of course, will be followed by appropriate response" from Russia.

"However, the geopolitical aspect is much more worrisome, since we are talking about a country with the permanent neutrality, so to say," Klintsevich said. In his opinion, Sweden’s hypothetical decision to abandon its neutrality policy in the event of joining the alliance "would mean, in a sense, the end of the old world."

According to the senator, "the whole issue of the possible NATO membership is purely artificial." "Nobody and nothing threatens Sweden," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter daily that Moscow reserves the right to retaliate, if Sweden joins NATO.

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