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Sweden’s foreign minister says her country has received security assurances from the U.S. if it decides to forge ahead with the process of joining NATO – a move that has been met with nuclear threats from Russia.
Ann Linde made the announcement after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Linde, speaking to Swedish media, said the assurances “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 U.S. would just allow to happen… without a response.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 4.
“Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American assurance,” she reportedly added. “However, not concrete security guarantees, those you can only get if you are a full member of NATO.”
Sweden and its neighbor Finland have been looking to join NATO following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s their decision,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week. “But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed, and I expect that process to go quickly.”
However, Russia warned in mid-April that it will bolster its defenses in the Baltic Sea — including a potential nuclear escalation — if Sweden and Finland join NATO.
Linde said the U.S. assurances “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 U.S. would just allow to happen… without a response.” (REUTERS/Michael A. McCoy)
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council and former president of Russia, had said at the time, according to Reuters.
“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to. If our hand is forced, well… take note it was not us who proposed this,” he added.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.