Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Wednesday that Stockholm had received assurances from the US that it would get security support during a NATO application period if Sweden chooses to join the military alliance.
Both Sweden and Finland are seriously considering joining NATO and according to local media reports, are expected to hand in their applications later this month. While NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he expects the alliance would quickly approve their membership, there would still be an application period during which Linde said Russia could take “negative” action towards Sweden.
Linde said that the US said it would provide security “assurances” as opposed to security guarantees that NATO members receive. “Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American assurance,” she said after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “However, not concrete security guarantees, those you can only get if you are a full member of NATO.”
Linde wouldn’t specify what sort of assurances the US gave but insisted there would be some sort of US response to Russian actions. “They would mean that Russia can be clear that if they direct any kind of negative activities against Sweden, which they have threatened, it would not be something that the US would just allow to happen … without a response,” she said.
Russia has warned that it would react to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Finland’s membership would be more provocative in the eyes of Moscow since the Finland-Russia border stretches over 800 miles. Russian officials have said they would have to deploy more forces to the border and warned of possible nuclear and hypersonic weapon deployments in the region.