Lavrov: Sweden and Finland's membership in NATO will not make much difference

Sergey Lavrov / Photo EPA-EFE / MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL

According to the Russian Foreign Minister, the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is unlikely to make a "big difference".

Speaking from Moscow, Sergei Lavrov said the two countries were "participating in NATO military exercises for many years", in remarks quoted by the Ria Novosti news agency.

But he reiterated Moscow's position that his country's response to Sweden and Finland's decision to apply for membership in the military alliance would depend on what forces NATO would deploy on their territory.

A Kremlin spokesman, meanwhile, Dmitry Peskov, said countries such as Britain and the United States, whose military advisers he says "tell armed Ukrainian nationalists what to do, [and] give them intelligence", should be considered more than just "hostile".

"We used to call them enemy states. "Now I would say that these are already enemy states because what they are doing is war," Peskov added.

Russia has an official list of "hostile" countries, mostly made up of NATO members, as well as non-NATO countries such as Australia and Japan, which have also imposed sanctions on Russia.

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