Russia threatens European security order – EURACTIV.com
Russia’s actions threaten the entire European security order, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said in a keynote address at Folk och Försvar, an annual meeting of the Swedish security and defense policy community. The minister also spoke about Russia’s demands on NATO and the current situation on the Ukrainian border.
All countries are entitled to their own sovereignty according to UN principles, and Russia defies international law in this way, said Hulqvist, longtime defense minister.
“Sweden must be able to cooperate with NATO, and the EU is Sweden’s most important security policy platform,” Hulqvist also said.
“Our strategy is to strengthen security with others. Today we are a respected partner who helps ensure security. What we do is our own choice and based on decisions made by the Swedish Riksdag. This is how he should stay. There is no room for compromise on this point, “he added.
The moderate-led opposition called on the government to initiate talks at the highest political level on Sweden’s security policy in response to Russia’s actions on the border with Ukraine.
Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson also spoke at this year’s meeting and addressed Russia’s demands on NATO.
“Put simply, this is totally out of the question, for Ukraine, of course, for the free states that were once part of the Soviet Union, but also for countries like Finland and Sweden,” a- he declared. Kristersson also said Sweden should follow Finland’s lead on NATO, citing Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s New Year speech, in which he said his country was free to join NATO if it wanted it.
“Sweden should now follow Finland’s lead in a broad political consensus. Because Finland’s cause is also ours, ”he also said.
Kristersson also criticized Hultqvist for the way he approached Russia’s demands. “I don’t think it’s clear the same way the Finnish government is. They responded much earlier, faster and more confidently, ”he said.
“I find it difficult to understand how NATO membership can be ruled out in a situation where Russia is acting more and more like the Soviet Union. I am not looking for a fight on the NATO issue, but to dismiss now what are the crucial security guarantees for the whole free world is difficult for me to understand, ”added the leader of the Moderate Party.
(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)