President Putin says Russia will respond to NATO moves in Finland, Sweden 0

Russian President Vladimir Putin has slammed NATO’s decision to approve the applications of Sweden and Finland, saying his country would respond in kind if the US-led military alliance deployed troops and infrastructure in the two Nordic countries after they join the 30-member bloc.

Putin made the remark on Wednesday, after NATO formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance following Turkey’s decision to drop its objections to their accession.

“With Sweden and Finland, we don’t have the problems that we have with Ukraine. They want to join NATO, go ahead,” Putin said after talks with regional leaders in the Central Asian ex-Soviet state of Turkmenistan.

“But they must understand there was no threat before, while now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in kind and create the same threats for the territories from which threats towards us are created,” he added.

Putin said he could not rule out tensions in Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm over their NATO membership. “Everything was fine between us, but now there might be some tensions, there certainly will,” he said. “It’s inevitable if there is a threat to us.”