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NATO has long taken Finland, Sweden into account in its military planning — Lavrov

The foreign minister stressed that Moscow saw no reasons why Finland and Sweden should be worried about their security

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The North Atlantic Alliance has for many years taken into account the territories of Finland and Sweden in its military plans for eastward expansion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the educational marathon conference New Horizons organized by the Russian Znanie (Knowledge) society on Tuesday.

"Finland, Sweden and other neutral countries have for years participated in NATO’s military exercises. NATO has taken their territories into account in planning its eastward movement. In this context it apparently makes no difference any more (in connection with their admission to NATO - TASS)," Lavrov said.

He stressed that Moscow saw no reasons why Finland and Sweden should be worried about their security.

"For this reason we see their decision, which Washington and NATO surely lobbied for, as a geopolitical move in the context of Russia’s containment and the implementation of NATO’s plans to spread its activities to the Arctic region," he added.

"Incidentally, the Finnish president and the Finnish ambassadors everywhere have been saying that they see no threats from Russia. Admission to NATO stems from the changes in the security situation in Europe. But there is no logic here," Lavrov said.

Russia, he stated, will keep an eye on how NATO uses the territories of Finland and Sweden and "make its conclusions," Lavrov said. "But the European Union in a situation where Germany has lost independence and France is hopelessly trying to press for strategic autonomy is actually merging with NATO in practice, even in terms of its membership," he concluded.

The Swedish government made a decision to apply for NATO membership on Monday. The Swedish prime minister said that the application would be filed together with Finland’s in the near future. Discussions over Finland’s admission to NATO went into high gear at the beginning of April. Most parliament members came out in favor of accession to the alliance.