STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen on Wednesday welcomed a pledge by Russia's Boris Yeltsin to reduce Moscow's ground and naval forces, saying the promise was more considered than an earlier one to cut nuclear warheads. Yeltsin, in a speech to the Swedish parliament on Wednesday morning, pledged to reduce his country's ground and naval forces, particularly in northwest Russia, by 40 percent from January 1, 1999. The promise was another scene-stealing initiative by Yeltsin and came after a pledge on Tuesday that Russia would cut its arsenal of nuclear warheads by a third. That move was quickly softened by the Kremlin's spokesman, who said the president was actually shedding more light on arms reduction talks that were already in progress. Yeltsin, on the second day of a three-day visit to Sweden, has already said that Russia's armies will be pared back from their Cold War levels. The country plans to reduce its forces to near one million by 2000 from 1.7 million men now. Yeltsin's promise to cut Russia's armed forces in the northwest of the country was quickly backed up by Defence Minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev. He told a news conference in Moscow that big reductions in Russia's Northern and Baltic fleets and the Leningrad and Kaliningrad military districts were planned as this was a stable region where troop reductions could be made.