Europe

Sweden summons Russia ambassador after Nato threat

A composite of the Swedish and Russia flag Image copyright BBC/AFP
Image caption The summoning comes amid tensions over Russian action in Ukraine and increased military activity

Sweden has summoned Russia's ambassador to explain comments from Moscow warning of "consequences" if Sweden joins Nato.

"It is not acceptable to make threats," said the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom.

Sweden is not currently part of the security bloc, but is a close ally and polls have shown gradual growth in support among Swedes for membership.

Like other countries in the Baltic region, Sweden has been alarmed by increased Russian military activity.

In October last year, Sweden launched its biggest military mobilisation since the Cold War when a foreign submarine was spotted near Stockholm. Moscow denied that one of its vessels had got into trouble.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Sweden called off its week-long search for a submarine in the Stockholm archipelago last year

Ms Wallstrom was responding to comments by the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova.

"Swedish membership in Nato would have politico-military and foreign policy consequences, and would require retaliatory measures from Russia," Ms Zakharova said at a briefing in Moscow.

"We are an independent country which makes independent decisions on our security policy," replied Ms Wallstrom.

The ambassador - Viktor Tatarintsev - was due to attend the meeting sometime on Friday afternoon.

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