ARTEK (Yalta), July 7. /TASS/. Russia is prepared to provide answers to Sweden on all questions in the military sphere that trigger its concern, but Stockholm evades direct dialogue, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday commenting on the statement made by Micael Byden, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish armed forces.
"We were puzzled by the remarks of this high-ranking representative of Sweden that Russia poses the biggest military threat to Sweden," she said. "One gets the impression that, like in a good orchestra, many Western countries keep accusing Russia almost daily of posing a threat to someone."
The diplomat recalled that Moscow constantly hears such accusations from Stockholm. "Specifically, I would like to recall the hunt for Russian submarines unleashed by the Swedish media," Zakharova said. "All these stories eventually turned out to be false. It is to be regretted that such Russophobic statements by Swedish military officials become a routine practice, they always imagine some kind of the Russian military threat."
"We have repeatedly said that the rearmament of the Russian army Mr.Byden is talking about has nothing to do with any aggressive intentions," the diplomat noted. "What is happening is the proportionate response to NATO’s increased military activity, which is approaching Russia’s borders with the apparent persistence."
Zakharova drew attention to stable working contacts between Moscow and representatives of the two countries’ agencies. "If our Swedish partners have any concerns in terms of the so-called ‘Russian threat,’ we are always prepared for direct dialogue on all issues that emerge," Zakharova said. "Unfortunately, we see over and over again that the Swedish side deliberately avoids business-like conversation."
Supreme Commander of the Swedish armed forces Micael Byden made a statement on July 5 calling Russia a major military threat to the kingdom.