Russia would not see “problems” in the eventual accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, assured this Wednesday (29) Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Turkmenistan.
“We don’t have problems with Sweden and Finland like we have with Ukraine,” Putin told a news conference in Ashkhabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.
“We have no territorial differences,” continued the Russian president.
“There is nothing that would bother us if Sweden and Finland join NATO. If Finland and Sweden want to join, they can join. It’s up to them. They can join whatever they want”, he reinforced.
However, “if military contingents and infrastructure were deployed there, we would be obliged to respond symmetrically and make the same threats to those territories from which threats to us have arisen,” Putin said.
Sweden and Finland decided to apply to join NATO after Russia launched its military operation in pro-Western Ukraine on February 14.
The formal accession process began this Wednesday during the NATO summit in Madrid.
Until now, Russia has always been critical of the prospect of the two Nordic countries joining the Atlantic Alliance, saying it would be a “destabilizing factor” for international security.
Putin also criticized NATO’s “imperialist ambitions”, accusing the Alliance of trying to secure its “supremacy” through the conflict in Ukraine.
“Ukraine and the well-being of the Ukrainian people are not the objective of the West and NATO, but represent a means of defending their own interests,” Putin said.
“The leaders of NATO countries want to guarantee their supremacy, their imperial ambitions,” he added.
The Atlantic Alliance and, “above all, the United States, needed for a long time an external enemy around which they could unite their allies”, said the Russian leader.
“Iran was not good for that. We gave them the opportunity to rally the whole world around them,” he snapped.