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Russia says Sweden, Finland joining NATO may accelerate Arctic militarization

Finland and Sweden have applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). (File Photo)

Russia's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Sweden and Finland joining NATO could accelerate the militarization of the Arctic region.

Responding to a question about how the two countries joining the alliance would affect the Arctic Council - an intergovernmental group which promotes cooperation in the Arctic - spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that Russia would be the only non-NATO member of the group.

"It cannot be ignored that once these countries join the alliance, all member states of the Arctic Council apart from Russia will be members of the North Atlantic bloc," she said.

"This could lead to increased militarization of the Arctic region but in turn, it would mean a significant increase in tensions over high latitude security risks."

She said, however, that the Arctic Council does not deal with military security issues and that it should not be linked to Sweden and Finland's accession to the bloc.

(Source: Reuters)

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