Amid the ongoing events in Ukraine, on May 18, Finland and Sweden submitted applications to join NATO. Although Turkey initially blocked the initiatives, the three nations signed a memorandum on Tuesday addressing Ankara’s concerns, paving the way for the two Northern European countries to join the military bloc.
Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored Wednesday that Moscow’s relations with Sweden and Finland are nowhere near as conflicting as Russia’s standing is with Ukraine, and that it would not object to its NATO membership.
However, should the block’s military infrastructure be deployed to the two nordic countries, Russia would be forced to respond in a ‘mirror way.’
Speaking at the Sixth Caspian Summit held in Turkmenistan this week, Putin emphasized the Kremlin has “nothing that could worry us in terms of Finland or Sweden’s membership in NATO,” and both countries are free to become members of the alliance.
He pointed out, however, that “there was no threat before,” but if military equipment or troops are deployed along the border, Moscow will have to “respond in a mirror manner and create the same threats in the territories from which they threaten us.”
The Russian president further rejected claims that Moscow’s move to push NATO forces away from its border and object to Ukraine’s NATO membership are having the opposite effect, stressing that allegations were “having nothing to do with reality.”
Read More: Putin: If NATO Infrastructure is Deployed to Finland & Sweden, Russia Will Respond in ‘Mirror Way’