Saturday, June 3, 2017

Putin Vows to Dump NATO If Sweden Joins It; Views Sweden Membership as Threat to Russia

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," the Newsweek website reports today (June 3, 2017).

"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 said.

"We will interpret that as an additional threat for Russia and we will think about how to eliminate this threat," he added.

Russian officials have treated NATO expansion near or at its borders as encroachment, rather than a desire by their smaller neighbors to deter Russian aggression, as it occurred in Ukraine in 2014, when Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

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