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Sweden’s Important Future in NATO

12 May 2024

Sweden’s Important Future in NATO

12 May 2024

On 7 March 2024, Sweden joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as its 32nd member.[i] In doing so, the Scandinavian country, like neighboring Finland, abandoned a long tradition of “neutrality and military non-alignment”, which for more than 200 years was central to Sweden’s national identity and a pillar of its approach to international relations and security.[ii] Since 2014, Russia’s conduct in Ukraine has resulted in Sweden’s government officials and citizens shifting their views from supporting “neutrality” to favoring plans to bring their country into the Transatlantic Alliance. This change was based on the evolving views held by a growing number of Swedes regarding the perceived Russian threat to Sweden and the rest of Europe. Throughout the past ten years, a growing number of Swedes have signed on to the general belief that joining NATO would provide their country with the most realistic hope for long-term security in the face of Moscow’s seemingly unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy.

Sweden’s “neutrality” on the international stage has long been relative. For decades, Sweden and NATO maintained a close partnership before the Nordic country officially joined the Western Alliance. Throughout the Cold War, there was latent cooperation between Stockholm and Washington.[iii] Then, after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union imploded, Sweden moved closer to the Western fold.[iv] The Northern European country joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1994 and 1997, respectively.[v] In 1995, Sweden joined the European Union (EU).[vi] Long before becoming a full-fledged member of the Transatlantic Alliance, Sweden was an “Enhanced Opportunity Partner”, which made important contributions to NATO missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo.[vii] By 2017, Sweden joined the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), founded three years earlier as a UK-led military partnership comprised of Northern European states.[viii]

Sweden’s belonging to the PfP program meant that it coordinated and cooperated with NATO in significant ways. Yet, the partner status did not provide Sweden with the Western Alliance’s collective defense, which only applies to full-fledged NATO members. From the second half of the 2010s, Swedes began to show growing levels of support for formally entering NATO as a consequence of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Then, with the Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022, Swedish policymakers and citizens grew increasingly concerned about Moscow’s intentions vis-à-vis Eastern and Northern Europe.

In general, the increasingly common view among Swedes was that Russia’s military action in Ukraine posed a threat to their security, not necessarily because of the dangers of any imminent Russian military attack against Sweden itself.[ix] Instead, a growing perception among Swedes was that Moscow’s conduct toward Ukraine was an attempt to dismantle Europe’s security order, which eventually could entail a direct attack on Sweden.[x]

Most Swedish citizens supported their government’s decision to apply for NATO membership. Public opinion on this issue changed in Sweden, as it did in Finland after Russia waged its “special military operation” in Ukraine. During the 1996-2019 period, public support for entering the Transatlantic Alliance was usually in the 20-30 percent range, briefly reaching the 30-40 percent range in the two years that followed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.[xi] However, according to a Novus poll from May 2022, support reached 58 percent.[xii] Although this position barely gained majority support, the fact that public opinion changed so significantly after February 2022 spoke volumes about how Swedish perceptions of security had changed as a result of Moscow’s conduct.[xiii]

In May 2022, Sweden’s then-Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a CNN interview that her country’s application for membership in NATO was a direct outcome of Russia’s behavior in Ukraine, which she condemned as “illegal and indefensible.”[xiv] The prime minister went as far as raising concerns about Moscow possibly attempting to wage similar aggression “in [Sweden’s] immediate vicinity.”[xv] At that time, Andersson asserted, “Should Sweden be the only country in the Baltic Sea region that was not a member of NATO, we would be in a very vulnerable position. We can’t rule out that Russia would then increase pressure on Sweden.”[xvi]

Similarly, the country’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde, stood by the decision to apply for NATO membership, saying it was the “right thing for Sweden’s security and for security and stability in our part of Europe.”[xvii] It was only in December 2021 that she told Sweden’s parliament that the Nordic country’s ascension to NATO was an idea that could not be considered, and five years earlier she argued that in an op-ed written with the defense minister that NATO membership for Sweden would be the “wrong way to go.”[xviii], [xix]

In late 2021, Moscow was seeking a deal with Washington to halt NATO’s eastward and northward expansion.[xx] Such an arrangement would have required Sweden to remain outside of the Transatlantic Alliance, which, from Stockholm’s perspective, would have forced Sweden to relinquish its right to independently decide whether or not to join NATO—a matter that Swedish officials believe went to the heart of their country’s rights as a sovereign nation-state.[xxi] Ultimately, the Swedish government’s calculation was that NATO’s collective defense would minimize the risk of Russia acting against Sweden in the future, and therefore, by May 2022, the Nordic country formally applied for NATO membership.

Yet, Sweden’s NATO membership bid faced hurdles caused by Turkey and Hungary, which resulted in a 20-month delay. Not until January 2024 did Turkey’s parliament vote to approve Sweden’s application.[xxii] Ankara’s initial objections to Sweden and Finland’s entry into the Transatlantic Alliance had to do with Stockholm and Helsinki’s policies vis-à-vis the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey, the U.S., and the EU recognize as a terrorist entity.[xxiii] In the case of Hungary, which is NATO and the EU’s most Russia-friendly member, Sweden’s criticisms of Hungary’s democratic deficits and illiberal politics prompted Budapest to demand concessions from Stockholm prior to endorsing Sweden’s membership in NATO.[xxiv] In February 2024, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson paid a visit to his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orbán, in Budapest and reached a defense industry deal for Hungary to acquire Gripen fighter-bomber planes.[xxv] The Hungarian prime minister hailed the agreement, which he said will be “significantly increasing [Hungary’s] military capabilities and further strengthening [Hungary’s] ability to play a role abroad.”[xxvi]

Ultimately, Turkey and Hungary extracted some concessions from Sweden and other NATO members, which paved the way for Sweden to formally join the Transatlantic Alliance and highlighted Ankara and Budapest’s keenness to transactionalize the process of NATO enlargement. Such a situation has occurred in NATO’s past, with Greece and North Macedonia being an example. The next time the Western Alliance attempts to bring in new member(s), such transactionalization of the process could easily occur again. Given how NATO is set up as a multinational institution, the organization lacks the means to deter its member-states from such behavior. Consequently, public pressure and diplomatic channels are necessary to bring about a consensus among all within NATO.

Sweden brings much to the table in NATO

Every indicator suggests that Sweden will maintain a highly active profile in NATO. The country’s military capabilities, particularly in terms of marine warfare, and its political stability will be important to NATO’s future. Among Baltic Sea states, only Russia and Germany maintain larger navies than Sweden. The Western Alliance values Sweden’s membership in terms of how the Scandinavian country unifies the Western Alliance’s front and command structure on the northern flank—stretching from the Arctic to the Baltic countries—while bolstering conventional deterrence vis-à-vis Russia.[xxvii] Officials in Stockholm have also said that Sweden will make contributions to the NATO presence in Latvia.[xxviii] On 25 April 2024, Prime Minister Kristersson reaffirmed his country’s commitment to doing so while being joined by his Latvian counterpart, Evika Silina, at a press conference.[xxix]

Sweden’s geography will be important to NATO. The country offers important transit capacities from Norway to Finland, which bolster Finland’s defense capacities. More EU funding for military mobility will lead to major infrastructure improvements. Sweden, like Finland, offers strategic depth to other NATO members through its “Baltic-Arctic strategic bulwark” as well as “Arctic know-how”.[xxx], [xxxi] Although Sweden and Finland are not in the Arctic Ocean, these two Nordic states’ entry into the Western Alliance serves to strengthen NATO’s military muscle in this part of the world, which is becoming increasingly important geopolitically, especially in terms of great power competition.

Gotland, a Swedish island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, is of immense importance to NATO and, more specifically, the security of its Baltic members. Described as “the cork in the bottle of the Baltic,” Gotland would be strategically essential to NATO in the event of a crisis erupting in the Baltic states.[xxxii], [xxxiii] With the island now belonging to NATO, there is a lower risk of Russia launching an overt attack on any Baltic country.[xxxiv] Gotland guarantees that Sweden will play a major security role within NATO when it comes to Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland’s national defense.[xxxv] As one former U.S. diplomat put it, this island “sits athwart the approaches to the Baltic coast like a permanent aircraft carrier.”[xxxvi]

Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland, Lithuania, and the Baltic Sea, is a militarized Russian enclave where Moscow has nuclear-capable Iskander missiles. Moscow might have sub-strategic nuclear weapons housed in the enclave too. Through Kaliningrad, Moscow has the means to prevent NATO forces from entering the Baltic Sea’s airspace.[xxxvii] According to assessments by officials in Stockholm, the Russians have possibly been interested in deploying their air-defense systems to Gotland and possibly other parts of Sweden, which underscores the centrality of this island in the balance of power in the Baltic Sea—a body of water now known as a “NATO lake” as a consequence of Sweden and Finland’s ascension to the Western Alliance.[xxxviii], [xxxix]

Washington has long understood Gotland’s strategic importance from the standpoint of countering threats posed by Russia to countries of the Baltic Sea. When the then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was visiting Sweden in 2016, he stated that “the U.S. would take it very, very seriously if there were a threat against Gotland.”[xl] The following year, the then-commanding general of U.S. Army forces in Europe, Ben Hodges, said, “I do not think there is any island anywhere that is more important [than Gotland].”[xli]

Although Sweden, unlike Finland, decreased its defense spending, reduced its armed forces, and also suspended conscription, Stockholm has started returning all of those to higher levels. On 26 April 2024, a Swedish parliamentary committee released a report that said that the Nordic country should raise its national military spending to approximately 2.6 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the end of this decade.[xlii] At the time of the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Sweden’s military spending stood at roughly 1 percent of GDP.[xliii]

The situation with Gotland underscores this evolution in Sweden’s security strategies. From 2005-16, this Swedish island was basically demilitarized. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 resulted in Stockholm realizing that re-militarization of the island was necessary.[xliv] Since 2016, the military presence on Gotland has been steadily growing.[xlv] Beginning in 2016, the Swedish army began introducing permanent troops on Gotland.[xlvi] Then, in 2018, the Swedes established a regiment on the island made up of 400 troops placed there permanently, as well as battalions with armored vehicles Leopard 2 tanks.[xlvii] By 2021, there was a reactivation of air defense systems on Gotland.[xlviii] In 2022, after Russia launched its overt invasion of Ukraine, Sweden invested further in the island’s defense and reinforcements and exercises increased.[xlix]

Swedish-Russian relations

Moscow’s negative reaction to Sweden’s ascension to the Western Alliance was no surprise. Russian officials see Sweden and Finland’s entry into NATO as highly problematic, even if Moscow initially tried to downplay the significance of these countries’ moves toward membership in the Transatlantic Alliance. At this point, Russia considers Sweden in the “non-friendly states” category, and Moscow-Stockholm relations have deteriorated, as has been the case in Moscow’s relationship with Helsinki for the same reason. After NATO accepted Finland, Moscow warned that it could be “the first to suffer” if there’s an exacerbation of NATO-Russia tensions.[l]

Moscow’s rhetoric about Sweden in the period following the Nordic country’s entry into NATO illustrates the new realities of Russian-Swedish relations. Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that “abandoning the long-term policy of military non-alignment and joining a group that is openly hostile to Russia is unlikely to strengthen the sense of security among ordinary Swedes.”[li] Shortly before Sweden ascended to the Western alliance, Zakharova said, “We’ll closely monitor what Sweden does in the aggressive military bloc, how it will implement its membership in practice.”[lii]

On the day that Sweden joined NATO, Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, called the move one of the “most reckless and short-sighted decisions” in the Scandinavian country’s history.[liii] “Even when it was a ‘half-member’ of the alliance, Sweden was not perceived in Russia as a threat. Now, it will. So, NATO is not a guarantee of Sweden’s security, it is a guarantee of risks,” added the Russian official.[liv] Kosachev went further, arguing that Sweden has deprived itself of “room for maneuvering” now that it must comply with Western military doctrines and operate as Russia’s enemy.[lv]

The Kremlin’s perspective on Sweden will be increasingly informed by Sweden’s NATO membership and its bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreement with Washington, on top of all other military-related developments stemming from either, which may include the storage of larger weapons in/near the greater Arctic area.[lvi] It can be taken for granted that Russian propaganda will depict Sweden as a growing threat based on its NATO membership, strengthening alliance with the U.S., and support for Ukraine.

Fearing the possibility of further Russian aggression beyond Ukraine, the Swedes have recently been taking steps aimed at bolstering their country’s energy security. Policymakers in Stockholm are aware that geographic factors make Sweden’s electricity grid vulnerable to sabotage operations. Malmo’s Oresundsverket natural gas-fired power plant, located near the Oresund straits, was originally planned to be dismantled.[lvii] But developments in Ukraine prompted Sweden’s grid operator, Svenska Kraftnat, to put the plant in Malmo on standby until 2030, underscoring how Russian conduct has impacted Sweden’s thinking in relation to the country’s energy security.[lviii]

It is important to see Sweden’s perceptions of Russia within the context of Swedish-Finnish relations and Helsinki’s own concerns about Moscow’s conduct. “Sweden and Finland therefore not only share a common history. We very much share a common future,” declared Stockholm’s chief diplomat Tobias Billström while hosting Finnish President Alexander Stubb during a visit to Sweden on 23 April 2024.[lix] Throughout this upcoming period, officials in Stockholm will pay extremely close attention to any moves by Moscow against Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia.[lx] Such actions could entail encouraging large flows of asylum seekers to enter Finland via the border, Russian cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns aimed at exploiting existing tensions and fueling new societal tensions.[lxi] Officials in Helsinki have already accused the Russians of waging one “hybrid attack” against Finland since it gained NATO membership, which entailed intentionally helping undocumented migrants cross into Finland from Russia.[lxii] Moscow has denied this charge.[lxiii]

Finnish officials have warned their counterparts in Stockholm about the possibility of Russia carrying out operations against Sweden now that it also belongs to the Transatlantic Alliance. Teemu Turunen, the acting head of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo), told Sweden’s government that it must be ready and “never underestimate the capabilities of the Russian intelligence service”, which is “skilled” in such operations.[lxiv]

Although Sweden shares no land border with Russia, policymakers in Stockholm understand that their country has some of the same vulnerabilities as Finland to Russian behavior. In recent years, Swedish authorities have voiced concerns about Moscow’s ability to exploit violent Islamist and right-wing elements in Sweden through disinformation campaigns that can heighten tensions and undermine social stability in the Nordic country. In August 2023, Sweden’s security service warned that Russia, China, and Iran “can use violent extremists and other types of organizations and individuals as proxies to conduct security-threatening activities deniably.” The Swedish government has accused Russia of weaponizing disinformation surrounding recent episodes of Quran burning in Sweden to tarnish the image of the Scandinavian country in the eyes of the Arab-Islamic world.[lxv]

Sweden’s leadership also has concerns about the Russians unleashing “environmental havoc” in the Baltic Sea. Billström has pointed to Russia’s “shadow fleet” as an environmental threat to Sweden and other NATO countries in the area, given that the fleet’s oil tankers are “unseaworthy”, aging, and uninsured, while the Russians are not transparent about ownership of these tankers.[lxvi] Yet, this fleet brings in high levels of oil revenue for Moscow’s war machine, circumventing Western sanctions.[lxvii] In response to Stockholm sounding the alarm about environmental issues related to this fleet, Billström said Moscow was entirely indifferent to such concerns.[lxviii] Tensions between Sweden and Russia are set to play into an environmental-security nexus that Moscow will likely try to leverage to further its own aims now that the Baltic Sea has become a “NATO lake.”

In the upcoming period, Swedish officials and citizens will have valid concerns about Russia engaging in hybrid warfare tactics against Sweden to harm the country now that it has joined NATO. Nonetheless, the general assessment among Swedes is that they will be more, not less, secure now that their country is a member of the Western Alliance. At the same time, many analysts contend that Russia waging a direct attack on Sweden appears to be a highly improbable scenario.[lxix]


Joining the Transatlantic Alliance was nothing short of a paradigm shift in Sweden’s foreign and security policy. Not long ago, “neutrality” was popular among the Swedes, who believed that maintaining cooperative relations with NATO as well as amicable ties with Russia would serve their country’s long-term security interests. But, in the current period, a growing number of Swedish policymakers and average citizens have assessed that the costs of staying outside of NATO have ceased to outweigh all perceived benefits.

Ultimately, Sweden applying for NATO membership and later becoming the 32nd member of the Western Alliance spoke volumes about the extent to which European views on security have evolved in recent years, with Russia becoming more confident in its quest to challenge the Western order and redefine the global geopolitical order. The irony is that Russia has long feared NATO’s expansion and arguably such a concern about the Western Alliance’s enlargement was a motivation for Moscow to take military action against Ukraine in February 2022. Yet, it was that “special military operation” against its smaller neighbor in Eastern Europe that prompted Sweden and Finland to determine that their future should be in NATO.

As a consequence of Sweden’s membership in the Transatlantic Alliance, NATO’s breadth will increase significantly. In this upcoming period, there will be greater solidarity among NATO members in the face of Russia’s conduct not only in Ukraine but also in terms of Moscow’s actions vis-à-vis the West, such as cyberattacks and other destabilizing behavior. With Sweden and Finland now members of the Western Alliance, Europe will be more united vis-à-vis Russia, and the Atlantic, Baltic, and Arctic parts of NATO will be increasingly bound together from a defense standpoint. The strategic depth and ability of NATO to act collectively in northern Europe are greatly bolstered by Swedish membership. Due to Sweden’s role in the Western Alliance, the Nordic region is now entirely a part of NATO’s territory—a reality that deeply unsettles officials in Moscow who fear the security and geopolitical implications of this development.

Looking ahead, it is difficult to imagine a resolution of the issues fueling tensions between the West and Russia. Even if the Ukraine war is frozen through a deal that permits Moscow to continue controlling parts of Eastern Ukraine after a ceasefire is implemented, there will be no agreement between the West and Russia on the fundamental questions concerning Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders. NATO’s confrontation with Russia is set to be prolonged, and Sweden’s leadership believes that for strategic, ideational, and security reasons, the Scandinavian country’s national interests are advanced through allying with Western powers against Moscow.

Rather than maintaining its centuries-old “neutrality” and non-aligned orientation, Sweden has signed up to be part of a collective effort aimed at countering Moscow’s influence and quest to expand Russian power in foreign countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, and Syria. With Sweden no longer somewhat geopolitically balanced between the West and Russia, its position in Europe’s security architecture has drastically changed in a relatively short span of time. Although the longer-term implications of Sweden being seen by a nuclear-armed state in its immediate vicinity as an “enemy” have yet to be fully realized, it is safe to assume that in the short- to medium-term there will be growing threats to Sweden from Moscow. Nonetheless, among Swedes, their calculation is that through NATO, their country will be prepared to take on such threats from a position of strength.

[i] Sophie Kiderlin, “Sweden formally joins NATO military alliance, ending centuries of neutrality,” CNBC, March 7, 2024,

[ii] Government Offices of Sweden, “Why Sweden joined NATO – a paradigm shift in foreign and security policy,” April 17, 2024,—a-paradigm-shift-in-swedens-foreign-and-security-policy/.

[iii] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Government Offices of Sweden, “Historical relations between Sweden and NATO,” April 3, 2024,

[vi] George Arnett, “Twenty years since Sweden voted to join the EU – what changed?,” The Guardian, November 13, 2014,

[vii] “Historical relations between Sweden and NATO,” op. cit.

[viii] “Why Sweden joined NATO – a paradigm shift in foreign and security,” op. cit. policy,”—a-paradigm-shift-in-swedens-foreign-and-security-policy/

[ix] Gunilla Herolf, Interview with the Author, April 2, 2024.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] “In a Major Shift, Swedish Public Supports NATO Membership,” The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Blog, June 16, 2022,

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Stephen Collinson, “The most striking aspect of Sweden and Finland’s application to join NATO,” CNN, May 18, 2022,

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Hope O’Dell, “Why is Sweden telling its citizens to prepare for war?,” Bluemarble, January 24, 2024,


[xviii] “NATO option in the government declaration,” SVERIGES RIKSDAG, January 25, 2022,

[xix] “In a Major Shift, Swedish Public Supports NATO Membership,” op. cit.

[xx] Government Offices of Sweden, “Statement of Government Policy Following Sweden’s Accession to NATO,” March 20, 2024,

[xxi] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[xxii] “Turkey approves Sweden’s NATO membership bid after 20-month delay,” Reuters, January 24, 2024,’s%20NATO%20membership%20bid%20after%2020%2Dmonth%20delay,-By%20Huseyin%20Hayatsever&text=ANKARA%2C%20Jan%2023%20(Reuters),after%2020%20months%20of%20delay.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] “Hungarian Parliament set to greenlight Sweden’s NATO membership 18 months after bid was first made,” euronews, February 26, 2024,

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Stephen Blank, Interview with the Author, April 3, 2024.

[xxviii] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[xxix] “Sweden to move ahead with sending troops to Latvia as part of NATO forces,” Reuters, April 25, 2024,

[xxx] Giorgio Cafiero, “A year of living less dangerously? Finland’s first 12 months in NATO,” Al Jazeera, April 4, 2024,

[xxxi] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[xxxii] Stephen Blank, Interview with the Author, April 3, 2024.

[xxxiii] Ulla Gudmundson, Interview with the Author, April 5, 2024.

[xxxiv] Ibid.

[xxxv] Anna Wieslander and Eric Adamson, “A glimpse of Sweden in NATO: Gotland could be a game-changer for Baltic defense,” Atlantic Council, April 26, 2023,

[xxxvi] A. Wess Mitchell, “What Sweden’s Accession Shows About NATO’s Future,” United States Institute of Peace, April 17, 2024,

[xxxvii] Anna Wieslander and Eric Adamson, “A glimpse of Sweden in NATO: Gotland could be a game-changer for Baltic defense,” op. cit.

[xxxviii] Ibid.

[xxxix] “Sweden joins “NATO lake” on Moscow’s doorstep,” Financial Times, March 7, 2024,

[xl] Anna Wieslander and Eric Adamson, “A glimpse of Sweden in NATO: Gotland could be a game-changer for Baltic defense,” op. cit.

[xli] Ibid.

[xlii] “Sweden should hike military budget to 2.6% of GDP, defence committee says,” Reuters, April 26, 2024,’s%20defence%20spending,gross%20domestic%20product%20(GDP).

[xliii] Ibid.

[xliv] Anna Wieslander and Eric Adamson, “A glimpse of Sweden in NATO: Gotland could be a game-changer for Baltic defense,” op. cit.

[xlv] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[xlvi] Anna Wieslander and Eric Adamson, “A glimpse of Sweden in NATO: Gotland could be a game-changer for Baltic defense,” op. cit.

[xlvii] Ibid.

[xlviii] Ibid.

[xlix] Ibid.

[l] Hope O’Dell, “Why is Sweden telling its citizens to prepare for war?,” op. cit.

[li] Ewa Bjorling, “What Sweden will bring to NATO,” GIS, March 8, 2024,

[lii] “Moscow Vows Response to Sweden’s NATO Accession,” The Moscow Times, February 28, 2024,

[liii] “Sweden to be seen as a threat by Russia after joining NATO — senior Russian lawmaker,” Tass, March 7, 2024,

[liv] Ibid.

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] Hanna Ojanen, Interview with the Author, April 8, 2024.

[lvii] “Sweden’s Plan for Worst-Case Scenario: War Spreading in Europe,” Bloomberg, April 24, 2024,

[lviii] Ibid.

[lix] “NATO newcomer Finland is now a ‘front-line state’ for the alliance, Finnish president says,” AP, April 23, 2024,

[lx] “Finland warns Sweden of ‘threats’ from Russia after NATO membership,” Anadolu Ajansi, March 8, 2024,

[lxi] Ibid.

[lxii] Ibid.

[lxiii] Ibid.

[lxiv] Ibid.

[lxv] “Russia spreading false claims about Quran burnings to harm Nato bid, says Sweden,” The Guardian, August 6, 2023,

[lxvi] “’Russia doesn’t care’: Sweden sounds alarm over unsafe oil fleet,” The Guardian, April 18, 2024,

[lxvii] Ibid.

[lxviii] Ibid.

[lxix] Hope O’Dell, “Why is Sweden telling its citizens to prepare for war?,” op. cit.

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