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Some NATO countries ‘don’t understand urgency of stopping Russia,’ says Swedish FM

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 27, 2024 3:50 PM 2 min read
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom speaks to the press during a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers at the EU Council headquarter in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 22, 2024. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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NATO is not doing enough for Ukraine and some countries in the alliance don’t “understand that the conflict is here and that we need to deal with it,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom told Euractiv on March 27.

“We have to understand that Russia is a neighbor that is behaving irresponsibly, which is threatening the world with irresponsible nuclear threats and the idea of recreating its former empire at the expense of independent sovereign states… We have to put an end to that,” he said.

Sweden officially joined NATO on March 7, almost two years after it applied to join the alliance in a direct response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and in a reversal of 200 years of formal military neutrality.

Billstrom said that in order to stop Russia “we first of all have to stop the aggression against Ukraine.”

“Not all countries understand the sense of urgency to act that there is,” he said, adding: “NATO is not doing enough for Ukraine.”

While being united as a bloc against Russia’s full-scale invasion, levels of support between NATO member states, as well as their public statements on the threat to European security that the Kremlin poses, vary.

NATO members geographically closer to Russia such as the Baltic states have been particularly outspoken.

On March 20, Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, said a Russian defeat in Ukraine would help prevent World War III.

"(If) Russia (were to) lose this war, then we don't have to worry about the Third World War," Kallas said, adding that she does not seek active conflict with Russia.

"We want to have peace, but we want to have sustainable peace, and peace on Russia's terms is not sustainable."

Latvia last year reintroduced mandatory military service and Warsaw has begun building bomb shelters.Such levels of rhetoric and concern have been largely absent in Western European countries but in recent weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron called Russia's war against Ukraine "existential" for France and Europe and warned that Moscow's potential victory would "reduce Europe's credibility to zero."

Estonian PM: Russian defeat will help prevent WWIII
“We want to have peace, but we want to have sustainable peace and peace on Russia’s terms is not sustainable,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said.
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