Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia will react “in kind” if it sets up NATO infrastructure in Sweden and Finland.
The Russian despot issued the cold threat after the Nordic countries signed an agreement that paved the way for them to join the Western alliance.
Putin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying he could not rule out “tensions” arising in Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm.
He said he did not have such problems with Sweden and Finland as he has with Ukraine‘.
But he said he would be forced to react in the mirror if NATO’s military infrastructure is deployed in these countries.
NATO has formally invited Finland and Sweden to join today, six weeks after inciting the Kremlin’s fury by submitting applications.
It was followed by a breakthrough yesterday, when Turkey lifted its veto on its bid to join the alliance after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.
It marks a shameful change in the tide of history for the Russian president, who has repeatedly stated that his ‘special military operation’ was forced by the threat of NATO enlargement to Ukraine.
He had previously warned Finland and Sweden that they would face ‘serious military and political consequences’ if they ended decades of neutrality by joining the bloc.
Because it shares a long border with Russia, Finland was particularly desperate to oppose Moscow, while also acting as a valuable diplomatic intermediary when talks with Western powers became too sour.
But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused a major shift in opinion in both countries, whose military is already working closely with NATO troops.
In more bad news for the Russian dictator, NATO today agreed on a ‘fundamental shift’ that will see it return to readiness during the Cold War to respond to the heightened threat posed by Moscow.
During a summit in Madrid today, the leaders of 30 nations have agreed to put 300,000 troops on high alert next year, up from the current level of 40,000.
For the United Kingdom, this would mean that the ‘majority’ of naval forces – including one of the aircraft carriers and their supporting ships – would be available to NATO, along with additional air squadrons and units of land brigade size.
In addition, 1,000 more British troops will be sent to Estonia to reinforce NATO’s presence on the border with Russia.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson marked Putin ‘evil’ when he urged alliance leaders to increase their defense budgets.
He later announced an extra £ 1 billion in military aid for Ukraine from the United Kingdom, following pressure from his own MPs to boost defense spending.
The new funding amounts to a 77% increase on the already delivered £ 1.3 billion, with the prime minister claiming that British support ‘transformed Ukraine’s defense’ against the Russian attack.
Mr Johnson said: ‘Putin’s brutality continues to take Ukrainian lives and threaten peace and security throughout Europe.
‘Because Putin is failing to make the profit he expected and hoped for and the futility of this war becomes clear to everyone, his attacks on the Ukrainian people are becoming increasingly barbaric.
‘British weapons, equipment and training transform Ukraine’s defense against this attack.
“And we will continue to stand with square behind the Ukrainian people to ensure that Putin fails in Ukraine.”
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Putin poses a cold threat over Sweden's and Finland's accession to NATO
Source link Putin poses a cold threat over Sweden's and Finland's accession to NATO