Putin warns Sweden and Finland not to gather NATO soldiers

Putin warns Sweden and Finland not to gather NATO soldiers

On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said that if NATO placed infrastructure and soldiers in Finland and Sweden after joining the US-led military alliance, Russia would retaliate. 

“We don’t have the issues with Sweden and Finland with Ukraine. Let them join NATO if they want,” Putin said on Russian state television after discussions with local officials in Turkmenistan, an ex-Soviet state in Central Asia. 

But they must realize that although there was no danger previously if military infrastructure and personnel are sent there, we will have to act similarly and pose threats to the regions that pose risks to us.

He said Moscow’s ties with Helsinki and Stockholm would inevitably deteriorate due to their NATO membership. 

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Everything was great between us, but now there may or may not be tensions, he added. “If there is a danger to us, it is inevitable.” 

Putin made his remark a day after NATO member Turkey removed its veto against Finland and Sweden’s application to join the alliance after they agreed to defend each other’s security.

The decision allows Helsinki and Stockholm to go forward with their NATO membership applications, signaling the most significant change in European security in decades. 

Putin said that the goals of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine were the same. 

They were to “liberate” the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine and establish circumstances that would secure Russia’s security.

He said that Russian forces had entered Ukraine and made good progress in their military involvement. Therefore, he said there was no need to establish a campaign end date.