Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (29) that the country’s government does not see “problems” in the eventual entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
“We have no problems with Sweden and Finland like the ones we have with Ukraine“, Putin said during a press conference in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan. “If Sweden and Finland so wish, they can join. It’s their business. They can adhere to whatever they want,” he declared.
Weeks ago, Kremlin representatives said that the two countries’ entry into NATO would be accompanied by political and military retaliation, without establishing at what level Russia’s responses would be given.
Despite the declaration that softens the likely accession of Finland and Sweden, Putin warned, also on Wednesday, that Russia will respond in kind if NATO installs infrastructure on the territory of the two possible new members.
The president said, according to Russian news agencies, that he could not rule out the possibility of tensions in Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm as a result of NATO membership.
Putin’s comments came a day after NATO-member Turkey lifted its initial veto on Finland and Sweden’s bid to join the alliance after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.