Sweden summons Russia's ambassador over "legitimate target" statement

FILE PHOTO-Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom attends a joint news conference in Espoo, Finland, February 7, 2023. Lehtikuva/Antti Hamalainen via REUTERS

OSLO (Reuters) - Sweden's foreign ministry said on Wednesday it will summon Russia's Stockholm ambassador to complain about an "attempt at interference" with the Swedish NATO application process.

Sweden and Finland in 2022 both sought NATO membership shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and are hoping to complete the process this year.

The Russian ambassador in a statement on the embassy's web site said joining NATO made the Nordic countries "a legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature".

A Swedish foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters the ambassador would be summoned.

"The foreign ministry is summoning the Russian ambassador to protest this obvious attempt at interference," Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom separately told news agency TT.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Louise Rasmussen in Copenhagen, editing by Essi Lehto)

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