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Swedish Defence Minister on Russia's Security Requirements: 'Unacceptable'

© REUTERS / TT News Agency/Erik SimanderSweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist attends a news conference at Rosenbad, the Swedish government headquarters, in Stockholm, Sweden July 27, 2017
Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist attends a news conference at Rosenbad, the Swedish government headquarters, in Stockholm, Sweden July 27, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
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In draft security proposals presented by Russia last week, NATO is asked to scale down its military activities in post-1997 member states and stop making advances to former Soviet republics, including Ukraine.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has called Russia's recent security requirements to NATO and the US, spelled out in a proposal published last Friday, 17 December, "unacceptable".
According to Hultqvist, Russia's requirements would mean that Sweden would be unable to implement current security policy.

"The purpose is to create a Russian sphere of interest where the Russian side will be able to exercise influence over the countries in our immediate area. We too would be affected and therefore it is completely unacceptable for us", Hultqvist told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

One of the foremost requirements is for NATO to stop its further enlargement. This would preclude Sweden and Finland, currently non-aligned as a matter of tradition, from potentially joining the alliance, which several of their parties, including the Swedish Moderates and the Finnish National Coalition Party, advocate for.

"We will not join NATO be it now or later, but it is a completely Swedish position that no one else should have a point of view on. We must have the freedom to make our decisions based on what we believe is best for the Swedish people. It is about our basic sovereignty and freedom of action to make our own decisions", Hultqvist said.

Hultqvist went so far as to venture that Russia's reqiurements are contrary to international law, according to Dagens Nyheter.
"Small nations must have the right to make their own decisions about their own future. Any attempt to build spheres of interest where some countries are considered to have some kind of supremacy over others is unacceptable", Hultqvist said.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt earlier called Russia's security proposals "completely unrealistic".
Soldiers take part in an exercise at the Yavoriv military training ground, close to Lvov, Western Ukraine, Friday, Sept 24, 2021. Ukraine, the US, and other NATO countries continue joint military drills in Western Ukraine presenting offensive exercises in town-like surroundings with tanks and other military vehicles involved.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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Norwegian Foreign Minister Calls Russia's Security Proposals to US, NATO 'Completely Unrealistic'
On 17 December, the Russian Foreign Ministry published two draft agreements on security guarantees between the Russian Federation, the US, and NATO.
Among other things, NATO is asked to scale down its military activities in those nations that became member states after 1997 and stop making advances to former Soviet republics. At the same time, both NATO and Russia are required to refrain from to deploying intermediate and short-range missiles within striking distance of each other. Similarly, both parties are required not to conduct exercises above the brigade level near an agreed upon border zone, to regularly exchange information on one another's military drills, and to establish hot lines for emergency contacts.
Despite assurances of non-expansion that were provided to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO has since expanded to include swaths of the former Warsaw Pact and even some ex-Soviet republics, such as the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia). Nevertheless, the Western media continues to frame Russia as "assertive" and "aggressive".
Moscow earlier called for a resumption of NATO-Russia communications amid simmering tensions near the Ukrainian border, which the West rushed to portray as a potential Russian "occupation", to the point of numerous outlets publishing maps of the "invasion" and discussing concrete manoeuvres. Kiev, at the same time, is seeking help from the West in the form of lethal weapons to "defend" itself and is attempting to guarantee the backing of NATO, which it is not a member of.
The Kremlin dismissed the allegations as absurd, yet insisted that the deployment of various types of weapons near Russian territory for ostensible "protection" will require countersteps to balance the situation.
No formal answer from the US or NATO has followed so far, despite Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov saying that Moscow "urgently" needs a response from Washington.
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