Putin: Russia will respond if NATO sets up infrastructure in Finland and Sweden
The Gurdian reported that President Vladimir Putin has issued fresh warnings that Russia would respond in kind if Nato set up military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after they joined the US-led alliance.
Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he could not rule out that tensions would emerge in Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm over their joining Nato.
“We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we do with Ukraine,” the Russian president told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat. “We don’t have territorial differences.”
“If Finland and Sweden wish to, they can join. That’s up to them. They can join whatever they want.”
However, he warned “if military contingents and military infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats for those territories where threats have arisen for us.”
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Russia has repeatedly warned Finland and Sweden against joining Nato, saying the “serious military and political consequences” of such a move would oblige it to “restore military balance” by strengthening its defences in the Baltic Sea region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.
Russian officials earlier reacted angrily to Nato’s offer of membership to Finland and Sweden, calling it a “destabilising” effort that will increase tensions in the region.
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Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday (June 29): “We condemn the irresponsible course of the North Atlantic Alliance that is ruining the European architecture, or what’s left of it.”
He added: “I have a great deal of doubt as to whether the upcoming period will be calm for our north European neighbours.”