“No problem” for Russia if Finland and Sweden join NATO

Russia sees “no problem” in Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

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• Also read: NATO officially starts the accession process for Sweden and Finland

“We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland as we do with Ukraine,” Putin said at a press conference in the Turkmen capital of Ashkhabad.

“We have no territorial disputes (…), there is nothing that could disturb us with regard to Sweden and Finland joining NATO,” assured the Kremlin master.

“If Finland and Sweden want it, let them join. It’s up to them, they can join wherever they want,” he said.

But “in case of deployment of military contingents and military infrastructure there, we will be forced to react symmetrically and create the same threats to the areas from which threats emanate to us,” Vladimir Putin warned.

The accession process for Sweden and Finland, which decided to join the alliance in response to the Russian offensive in Ukraine that has been ongoing since February 24, was officially launched at the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday.

Russia has hitherto denounced the two Nordic countries’ aspirations, notably seeing them as a “destabilizing factor” in international affairs and security.

Ukraine: Putin denounces ‘imperial ambitions’ of NATO which wants to assert ‘hegemony’

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday denounced NATO’s “imperial ambitions,” which he says is trying to assert its “hegemony” through the Ukraine conflict.

“Calling on Ukraine to continue fighting and refuse negotiations only confirms our assumption that Ukraine and the well-being of the Ukrainian people is not the goal of the West and NATO, but a means of defending their own interests,” Putin reiterated , during a press conference in Achkhabad, the Turkmen capital.

“The leading NATO states want (…) to reinforce their hegemony, their imperial ambitions,” he accused.

The Atlantic Alliance and “the United States in particular have long needed an external enemy around which to unite their allies,” Vladimir Putin said.

“Iran was not good for that,” he said.

“We gave them this chance, the chance to unite everyone around them,” Mr Putin quipped.

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