President Vladimir Putin said Russia “has no problem” with Finland and Sweden. He stressed that the imminent entry of these countries into NATO does not pose an immediate threat, but will still provoke a “reaction”.
“As for the enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance: yes, it is a problem, in my view, that has been created entirely artificially in the foreign policy interests of the United States. <...> Russia has no problems with these states [со Швецией и Финляндией]and therefore the threat of enlargement in this sense [НАТО] These countries do not create at their expense, ”the politician said in his speech at the CSTO summit.
“But the expansion of military infrastructure on the territory of this region will certainly cause our reaction. And we will look at what will happen according to the threats that will be created for us,” he said.
According to the Russian leader, the problem is created “from scratch”, but in any case Moscow will have to “react accordingly”.
“Among other things, in addition to this policy of endless enlargement, the North Atlantic Alliance is also going beyond its geographical target, going beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, trying to become more and more actively involved in international affairs and controlling the international situation from the other side. in terms of security, to impress them and not in the best way in other parts of the world, ”the President of the Russian Federation concluded.
Specially on the eve of the Finnish leader Sauli Niinistö in your name Putin warned of his decision to join NATO because of the situation in Ukraine. In this way, Finland will strengthen its own security and take on certain responsibilities,” he said.
The Russian president responded by saying that Helsinki had abandoned its tradition of military neutrality in vain. Putin also reiterated that “there is no threat to the security of Finland”.
“Pull into orbit of interests”
Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, believes that the principled position established by the European countries has been broken by the alliance for many years, which ultimately led to success.
According to him, NATO is “drawing into its orbit” countries, contrary to their national interests and the will of the people. “But not at the expense of elements of normal international or bilateral relations,” he said on the broadcast of the Rossiya-24 TV channel.
According to Zakharova, NATO scared other countries and put pressure on them. In addition, the alliance constantly held joint exercises with Sweden and Finland. “We have constantly reacted, we have talked about the danger of such a road, we have conducted historical and modern examples of what it can entail and what it will lead to,” he said.
In NATO, but without nuclear weapons
Finland and Sweden have actively cooperated as observers with NATO under the Partnership for Peace program since 1994. Countries also participate in the non-military part of the alliance’s maneuvers in the Baltic Sea.
After the start of Russian special operations in Ukraine, both in Helsinki and in Stockholm, they began to talk about the possibility of abandoning the policy of neutrality. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is open to Scandinavian countries and they may join in the near future. Turkey opposed the membership of Sweden and Finland. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emphasized that Ankara “cannot give a positive opinion” on this issue. Previously, Greece was mistakenly admitted to NATO (it joined the alliance in 1952), and Turkey “does not want to make a mistake a second time”, he said.
On May 15, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö announced the country’s decision to apply for NATO membership. 16 May similar announcement made Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. At the same time, the country’s ruling Social Democratic Party promised to oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases in Sweden if the application is approved.
Andersson said Sweden and Finland would submit a single application. After that, the alliance will have to be ratified by the parliaments of its 30 member states. The whole process can take up to a year.