21 Jan 2022 11:37

Stoltenberg's words of readiness for admission of Sweden, Finland to NATO is pressure on their policy - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) - The statements by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg regarding the readiness for a swift admission of Sweden and Finland to the alliance are an attempt at pressure on their policy, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"We view the NATO secretary general's statements of the readiness to admit these countries to the alliance as an unceremonious attempt at external pressure on the policy of Finland and Sweden, which we have long-standing friendly relations with and whose tangible contribution in European security as off-bloc countries we highly appreciate," the ministry said in response to questions from journalists for a press conference of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which were published on its website on Friday.

"We are confident that the off-bloc status is the most effective way to provide national security at these turbulent times. As for the talks' agenda, we have made it crystal clear and have built it on three key elements, namely, the non-enlargement of NATO, the non-deployment of offensive weapon systems near Russian borders, and the bloc's return to the configuration it had in 1997, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed," the ministry said.

"We are expecting NATO to give a detailed written response to our draft agreement with the alliance, as promised," it said.