(Stockholm) Finland and Sweden will become “legitimate targets” for Russian “retaliation” once they become NATO members, the Russian ambassador in Stockholm warned on Tuesday, reigniting the rhetoric of threats from Moscow.

“After the accession of Finland and Sweden, the total length of the borders between Russia and NATO will almost double”, argues Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev in a text posted on the site of the Russian mission in Sweden.

“If it still seems to anyone that this will somehow improve Europe’s security, rest assured that the new members of the hostile bloc will become a legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including including those of a military nature,” the diplomat warns in a long indictment against joining the alliance.

The warning comes as Moscow had appeared in recent months to shelve threats against the two Nordic capitals since their historic decision last May to apply to join the Atlantic alliance.

The candidacies, which turn the page on decades of neutrality and then out of military alliances, are a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A country bordering Russia, Finland is only waiting for a Turkish ratification promised by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to join NATO.

As for Sweden, its candidacy has turned into a diplomatic way of the cross and it is currently facing a veto from Ankara, as well as a delay in its ratification by Hungary.

Stockholm, however, still hopes to join before the next NATO summit in July in Vilnius.

Public opinion swung dramatically in favor of NATO after the invasion of Ukraine, surpassing 80% support in Finland and approaching two-thirds in Sweden, according to polls.

But for the Russian ambassador in Stockholm, who was born in Cherson in present-day Ukraine, Sweden was “stepping into the abyss” by wanting to join NATO.

Deploring, among other things, a “hasty” decision without a national referendum, he raises the risk that the NATO command “decided to fully enter the conflict”.

β€œIn this case, the Swedes will undoubtedly be drawn in and sent to their deaths for the interests of others,” Mr. Tatarintsev writes.