Friday, June 02, 2017

Putin Vows Military Response If Sweden Joins NATO

By Damien Sharkov On 6/2/17 at 5:25 AM Newsweek

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed deep opposition to the idea of Sweden joining NATO, calling its potential membership of the U.S.-led alliance a “threat” that would need to be “eliminated.”

“If Sweden joins NATO this will affect our relations in a negative way because we will consider that the infrastructure of the military bloc now approaches us from the Swedish side,” Putin told state news agency Itar-Tass. “We will interpret that as an additional threat for Russia and we will think about how to eliminate this threat.”

Russian officials have repeatedly treated NATO expansion near or at its borders as encroachment, rather than a desire by their smaller neighbors to deter Russian military incursion as sustained by Ukraine in 2014. Currently only Montenegro is on the list of countries to be inducted into NATO, as Sweden and neighbor Finland opt to stay non-aligned. Currently, three Baltic states and Poland are members of NATO on Russia's borders.

(More here.)

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