Peter Hultqvist: ’Respect international law’, al Jazeera

Growing tensions between Russia and the West concerning the Baltic – an area once mainly ruled by the Soviet Union – means Moscow’s military build-up is just as forceful.

NATO plans to station thousands of additional troops near Europe’s borders with Russia in one of the biggest military expansions in the area since the end of the Cold War. ..

We speak to Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist on Talk to Al Jazeera about security in the Baltic region, why he still believes Sweden should stay out of NATO – despite regional tensions – and whether Russia poses a threat to Sweden.

”We never talk about threats in that way,” Hultqvist said.

”We talk about realities and things that have happened. The fact is, they wanted Crimea. They have more military equipment today, they [execute] more complex exercises … they have more of a presence in our part of the world.

”We are seeing more intelligence activities. We can see that they are doing more things and that is something that we have to react to in the way that we are now upgrading our military capabilities and deepening our cooperation with other countries.” …

With Russian interest in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia increasing, Al Jazeera asked Hultqvist whether Sweden would answer requests for help from any of these countries should Russia threaten peace in the area.

”Different countries [carry out] exercise with each other and give information to each other,” Hultqvist said in response.

”When you create interoperability, you signal to the world that this is something that can be used in a specific situation. However, we try to manoeuvre in a way that creates stabilisation in the area, to have peace in the future. But we must heighten the threshold together. Läs hela intervjun