NATO expansion: Putin warns Finland, Sweden

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NATO Putin Finland Sweden

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced NATO’s “imperial ambitions” and charged that the military alliance was using the situation in Ukraine to try to establish its “supremacy.”

The Russian president added on Wednesday that he would retaliate in kind if NATO established facilities and troops in Finland and Sweden following the two Nordic nations’ enlistment in the military alliance.

Putin made his remark the day after NATO member Turkey withdrew its veto on Finland and Sweden’s application to join the alliance after the three countries vowed to defend one another’s security.

Read: Turkey clears path for NATO expansion; lifts veto on entry of Finland, Sweden

Helsinki and Stockholm joining NATO mark one of the decades’ biggest shifts in European security.

“With Sweden and Finland, we do not have the problems that we have with Ukraine. They want to join NATO, go ahead,” Putin told Russian state television after talks with regional leaders in the central Asian ex-Soviet state of Turkmenistan.

“But they must understand there was no threat before, while now if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in kind and create the same threats for the territories from which threats towards us are created,” he said.

“Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm would inevitably sour over their NATO membership,” he added.

“Everything was fine between us, but now there might be some tensions, there certainly will,” Putin said.

Read: Putin tells Finland that swapping neutrality for NATO is a mistake

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