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Russian envoy summoned by Sweden over statement that Nordic countries are legitimate targets if they join NATO

The Swedish government said that it would summon the Russian ambassador in Stockholm over his statement saying that by joining NATO, Finland and Sweden are “legitimate targets” for Russia’s “retaliatory measures.”

In a statement on the embassy’s website, Russian Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev remarked that by joining NATO, the two Nordic countries could become a legitimate target for Russian “retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature.”

Following the statement, the Swedish foreign minister, Tobias Billstrom, told TT news agency, that it was summoning the Russian ambassador to “protest this obvious attempt at interference.”

Sweden and Finland have both sought NATO membership since last February, when Russia began its war on Ukraine.

Finland is close to getting approval from all the current NATO allies to join, including Türkiye.

Finland has a 1,300-kilometers (over 800 miles) border with Russia, which the USSR used to invade its neighbor during World War II.

Sweden’s bid depends on it fulfilling a series of promises it made to Türkiye last year to improve its anti-terrorism laws, among other steps.

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