Russia views plans by Sweden and Finland to join NATO as a destabilizing move, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Wednesday as the two countries appeared set to gain fast-track membership of the alliance.
“We consider the expansion of the North Atlantic alliance to be a purely destabilizing factor in international affairs. It does not add security either to those who are expanding it, those joining it, or to other countries that perceive the alliance as a threat,” Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.
Further NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders was the very outcome that Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to prevent by launching the invasion that he calls Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24.
But Russia has sent mixed signals about the risks to its security from Finnish and Swedish entry.
In May, Putin said: “As to enlargement, Russia has no problem with these states – none. And so in this sense there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion (of NATO) to include these countries.”
NATO member state Turkey initially threatened to block Finland and Sweden’s accession, citing what it called Sweden’s support for Kurdish militants and its ban on the export of some types of arms to Turkey.
However, Turkey dropped its objections to the two countries’ NATO applications on Tuesday as the alliance began a three-day summit in Madrid.
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