Russia has warned that Finland and Swedenʼs intention to join NATO will "militarize" the region, saying the Kremlin “will respond” if the Alliance deploys nuclear weapons near Russiaʼs borders.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko said that Russia knows that NATO wants to "militarize everything within its reach," Reuters reports.
"Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and sees no ʼtrueʼ reasons for the two countriesʼ accession to NATO," Grushko added.
He also reiterated the Kremlinʼs previous statement that Moscowʼs response to a possible NATO expansion would depend on how close the Alliance is to Russia and what infrastructure it will deploy.
- On May 12, Finland officially announced its plans to join NATO. To do this, the countryʼs parliament must vote in favor of applying for membership. The Swedish Parliament is also currently considering joining the Alliance. The countries will join the bloc under a simplified procedure, as their armies already meet NATO standards.