NEW YORK — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday scoffed at the suggestion that the United States might have to defend Sweden against a Russian attack even though Sweden is not a member of NATO.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Lavrov was asked about a statement made by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in May that the U.S. would “not abandon democratic allies and partners, and we will stand with Sweden” in the event of Russian aggression in Europe. Sweden is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance.

Lavrov shrugged off the question.

“I’m not a medical doctor, I’m awfully sorry,” he said, speaking in English. “I cannot address paranoidal statements.”

“I heard that the Swedish government is afraid of something, that the German government is keeping its fingers crossed and is thankful to us that one week before the election we haven’t yet meddled with the election. There are so many fantasies that it’s a waste of time to pay attention to,” he said. “It’s so fake.”

This story has been amended to correct the full name of NATO.

Author photo
The Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.