Russias chilling NATO warning in full after Finland & Sweden bid – under no illusions

Putin ‘shot himself in the foot’ with Nordic NATO applications

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Finland and Sweden have both announced their intention to join NATO following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The two Nordic countries, both of which have traditionally shunned military action and alliances, are in the process of formally approving decisions to join the western defensive alliance.

Finland’s parliament is expected to approve a formal decision in the coming days after President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced it at a news conference in Helsinki on Sunday.

Neighbouring Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats reversed their long-held opposition to military alliances and will also be making a formal decision this week.

Sweden’s application will be submitted in the next couple of days and would be synchronised with Finland, according to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

The move is one of the most prominent changes in Europe’s security set-up after Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Public support for joining NATO in the two non-aligned countries soared after the war began.

Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin has not responded well to the news.

Vladimir Putin warned that while Sweden and Finland are not a threat to Russia, expansion of the alliance into their territory “will certainly provoke our response”.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Sweden and Finland’s plan to join the military alliance is a mistake that would have far-reaching consequences.

Sergei Ryabkov said: “This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences.

“The general level of military tensions will increase.

“They should have no illusions that we will just put up with this.

“It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation.”

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Russia could also find support in Turkey, which has said it will veto any bids to join NATO by the two Nordic nations.

Turkey’s leader said it would block the bid due to sanctions placed on his country by Sweden.

Sweden suspended arms sales to Turkey three years ago, following Ankara’s military intervention in Syria.

According to Istanbul, Finland and Sweden have rejected dozens of requests to extradite Kurdish militants which Turkey describes as terrorists.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said: “Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisations. How can we trust them?”

Sweden and Finland need each of NATO’s 30 members to approve their applications.

The ratification process had been expected to take up to a year, though Turkey’s objections have thrown the timeline into doubt.

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