Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the presentation of Sweden’s defence strategy
We have noted Sweden’s proposed defence strategy, Total Defence 2021-2025 Bill submitted by Swedish Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist to parliament on October 15, which includes, in part, a 40 percent increase in the military budget.
Of course, determining a strategy to ensure national security is Sweden’s sovereign right. However, such a sharp increase in military spending, which is comparable, according to Swedish observers, with the Cold War era, cannot but cause concern. All the more so as the draft strategy includes an alarmist scenario of armed attack against Sweden, with Russia being mentioned over a hundred times, mainly as a potential source of threat to Sweden’s security.
These invented anti-Russia phobias are due in no small measure to deliberate external pressure on Stockholm, primarily from the North Atlantic alliance, which is responsible, according to our evaluations, for fomenting tensions and escalating military activities in northern Europe, which used to be one of the most stable areas in the world until recently.
We believe there are no disagreements or conflicts that could result in a military solution in the north of Europe. We are always ready for an open and respectful dialogue on the issues of enhancing security and stability with all of our northern European partners. We have repeatedly emphasised this in our contacts with Sweden as well.