MOSCOW: Russia has warned Sweden and Finland about the consequences of joining NATO via bilateral diplomatic channels, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
"We have issued all our warnings both publicly and through bilateral channels. They [Sweden and Finland] know about it, they will have nothing to be surprised about, they were informed about everything, what will it lead to," Zakharova told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.
A growing majority of Swedes are in favour of joining NATO, a poll showed on Wednesday, as policy-makers in both Sweden and Finland weigh up whether Russia's invasion of Ukraine should lead to an end to decades of military neutrality, Reuters reported.
According to a poll by Demoskop, the number of supporters of Sweden joining NATO increased from 51% in March to 57% in April. Today, 21% of respondents are against membership, while 22% find it difficult to answer, Europe's NEXTA TV reported.
According to media reports, the momentum is building in Sweden for the country to apply for NATO membership opinion poll showed a record number of Swedes supporting the idea.
The opinion poll showed 57 per cent of Swedes were in favour of NATO membership and only 21 per cent against it.
Earlier, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned the US and the European Union that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons near the Baltic countries and Scandinavia if Finland or Sweden decide to join NATO.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Warning the baltic nations against joining the NATO, Dy Chairman of Russia's Security Council Dmitry Medvedev had said earlier this week that "There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic - the balance must be restored."
Finland's parliament Wednesday will open a debate on whether to seek NATO membership after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sparked a surge in political and public support for joining the military alliance, AFP reported.