Maria Zakharova about Sweden’s anti-Russian phobias and pressure on that country from NATO

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 4, 2019: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova holds a briefing on Russia's foreign policy. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASSÐîññèÿ. Ìîñêâà. Îôèöèàëüíûé ïðåäñòàâèòåëü ÌÈÄ Ðîññèè Ìàðèÿ Çàõàðîâà âî âðåìÿ áðèôèíãà ïî òåêóùèì âîïðîñàì âíåøíåé ïîëèòèêè. Àíòîí Íîâîäåðåæêèí/ÒÀÑÑ

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TASS/. Sweden’s anti-Russian phobias stem from the pressure on that country from NATO, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday commenting on Sweden’s draft defense strategy.

“Invented anti-Russian phobias in no small way stem from the deliberate pressure on Stockholm, first of all, from NATO, which, as we believe, is responsible for fanning tensions and escalation of military activities in Northern Europe, one of the most stable regions in the world until recently,” she said.

She stressed that it was Sweden’s sovereign right to elaborate its national security strategy. “But such a dramatic increase in defense spending comparable, according to Swedish analysts, with the cold war era cannot but be alarming. The more so as the draft strategy does not rule out an alarmist scenario of an armed aggression against Sweden and Russia is mentioned more than one hundred times as a potential source of threats to Sweden’s security in the majority of cases,” Zakharova said.

The Russian diplomat drew attention to the fact that Northern Europe has no conflicts or contradictions requiring a military solution. “On our part, we are ready for an open and meaningful dialogue on topics of strengthening security and stability with all Northern European partners. We have repeatedly stressed that in our contacts with the Swedish side,” she added.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said earlier that its was planned to increase defense spending by 40% in a period from 2021 to 2025. According to Hultqvist, the overall growth will be by 85% in a period from 2014 to 2025, the biggest growth of defense spending since the 1950s.

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