Russia's attack on Ukraine has Finland and Sweden reconsidering their stance on NATO, and the admission process is now underway. Kremlin chief Putin firmly assumes that this will cause friction in the future.
According to President Vladimir Putin, Russia does not see itself threatened by Finland and Sweden joining NATO, but will take military countermeasures. "There is nothing that would worry us about Finland and Sweden joining NATO. If you want - please," the Kremlin chief told journalists in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat. But the countries would have to brace themselves for a Russian reaction.
"They need to get a clear picture of the fact that there were no threats to them before - but if troops are stationed there and infrastructure is put in place, we will have to respond in a mirrored manner and create the same threats on the territory from which we are being threatened," quotes the news agency Tass Putin. "Everything was good between us, but now there will be some tension - that's obvious, without a doubt, it can't be done without."
Russia had already threatened consequences after the first plans for NATO accession of the two countries. Under the impression of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Finland and Sweden had decided to give up their decades of neutrality and join NATO. The admissions process was launched at the Alliance summit in Madrid on Wednesday. The expansion will extend Russia's border with the alliance by more than 1,300 kilometers.
Putin argued, however, that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would be very different from Ukraine's membership. The thesis that Russia fought against Ukraine's admission to NATO and thereby triggered the enlargement to include Finland and Sweden is unfounded. The West tried to turn Ukraine into an "anti-Russia" from where his country was supposed to be destabilized and where Russian culture was fought, Putin claimed. That doesn't exist in Finland and Sweden.