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Finland, Sweden Joining NATO Poses No Threat To Russia – Putin

President Vladimir Putin says Russia has no problems with  Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Finland, Sweden Joining NATO Pose No Threat To Russia – Putin

Putin’s comment contrasts with remarks by Russia’s foreign ministry threatening the two countries with consequences if they go ahead with their plans of joining NATO.

Putin noted that Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO posed no direct threat to Russia, but warned the Western military alliance against moving weapons into the two countries’ territories.

“As for the expansion [of NATO], including through new members of the alliance — Finland, Sweden — Russia wants to inform you that it has no problems with these states,” Putin said on Monday, speaking at a gathering in Moscow of leaders from the member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russia-backed military alliance. “Therefore, in this sense, expansion on account of these countries does not pose a direct threat to Russia.”

Putin however warned that there would be consequences if the military alliance moved weapons into the territory of the two countries.

“The expansion of military infrastructure on this territory will undoubtedly cause us to respond,” Putin told the leaders of the five former Soviet republics, adding that NATO’s “endless expansionary policy” also “required additional attention on our part.”

Despite Russia’s initial threat, Finland’s parliament have signed off on the plans to seek membership in NATO’s defence alliance.

Lawmakers in Helsinki, Finland’s capital, voted 188 to eight to back the proposal, with none abstaining and three absent. The vote caps more than 14 hours of continuous debate in the legislature on Monday, and more on Tuesday, where the bulk of parliamentarians advocated for entry.

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