Russia has issued continuous threats against Finland and Sweden joining the US-led military alliance NATO, stating the “serious military and politi
Russia has issued continuous threats against Finland and Sweden joining the US-led military alliance NATO, stating the “serious military and political consequences” of the historic move would give it no option but to “restore military balance”. As Turkey lifted its veto on the two Nordic countries’ membership this week giving them the green light to join, Vladimir Putin has reinstated Moscow’s warnings that it will “answer in kind” if NATO infrastructure is deployed to Finland and Sweden. Read on for the full statement.
Helsinki and Stockholm’s request for membership marks a significant shift in European defence and security history, as the two have remained militarily neutral since World War 2.
However, as tensions continue to spiral in eastern Europe and Mr Putin shows no sign of ceasefire in Ukraine, more of Russia’s neighbouring countries have been appealing for NATO membership in a bid to bolster security.
Naturally, these moves have been highly condemned by Moscow, stating expansion of the NATO alliance is “destabilising” and would only further increase tensions.
When news initially stirred around Finland and Sweden’s ambitions to join the treaty, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop threats to its national security arising.”
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“The expansion of NATO and the approach of the alliance to our borders does not make the world and our continent more stable and secure.”
However, while threats toward the two countries joining the treaty as a whole somewhat diminished, the Kremlin adjusted its warnings to focus more on the installation of NATO military infrastructure.
A day after Turkey lifted its veto on Sweden and Stockholm’s membership, Mr Putin issued a fresh warning to the nations about membership conditions.
Speaking at a news conference in Turkmenistan, Mr Putin said: “We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine… we don’t have territorial differences.”
Mr Putin added that the objectives of what Moscow describes as its “special military operation” in Ukraine remained unchanged, that its goal was to “liberate” eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and create conditions to ensure Russia’s security.
He said Russian troops had advanced in Ukraine and that the military intervention was going as planned before adding that there was no need to set a deadline for an end to the campaign.
On Wednesday, June 29, NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the treaty during its Madrid summit, kickstarting a multistage process that will ultimately grant both countries full membership.
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg told the conference: “We need a ratification process in 30 parliaments – that always takes some time but I expect that to go rather quickly because allies are ready to try to make that ratification process happen as quickly as possible.”
The ratification process typically takes around a year, however, as tensions increase further in the east, the unprecedented urgency may significantly accelerate the timeline.