Moscow, May 16 (EFE).- Russian president Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country had no issue with Finland and Sweden joining Nato but that the expansion of military infrastructure on their territories would demand a response from Moscow.
“Russia has no problems with Finland and Sweden, the expansion of Nato to those countries does not create a direct threat to us,” Putin said during a summit of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Moscow.
But if military infrastructure is deployed to those territories, it will “certainly provoke our response,” he added.
“What that will be – we will see what threats are created for us. Problems are being created for no reason at all. We shall react accordingly.”
Putin’s comments came after Finland and Sweden said they were in favor of joining the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a historic move that marks a huge geopolitical shift.
Putin said that Nato’s expansion to the Scandinavian countries was in the interest of the United State’s foregn policy and would exacerbate an “already complicated” global security situation.
On Saturday, Putin warned Finland that joining Nato and renouncing its military neutrality would be a mistake.
Before launching what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, Putin had referenced Nato’s enlargement into Eastern Europe and called for the withdrawal of military infrastructure from countries that joined the bloc after 1997.
Russia shares 1,300 kilometers of border with Finland, which would double the Russian Federation’s border with Nato members.
Russia shares borders with Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition to 49 kilometers of maritime border with the United States, all members of Nato. EFE