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Russia Calls NATO Bid Of Finland & Sweden ‘Grave Mistake’
By Staff, Agencies
Moscow has once again reiterated its opposition to the membership bid of Finland and Sweden in the NATO military alliance, calling it a mistake with far-reaching consequences.
“This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Monday, adding that “the general level of military tensions will increase.”
Ryabkov said the move will radically change the global situation and warned that the two Scandinavian countries “should have no illusions that Russia will simply put up with their decision.”
“It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation,” Ryabkov added.
Moscow had earlier warned Finland, with which it shares a 1,300-kilometer border, that it would take “reciprocal steps.”
The remarks come after Swedish and Finnish leaders announced their intention to join NATO, after decades of military neutrality.
The foreign ministers of the alliance attended a summit in the German capital this week to focus on the membership bids of Finland and Sweden.
Apart from Russia, which views NATO expansion as a threat to its security, Turkey has also strongly objected to the move.
Moscow has long expressed grievances about NATO’s eastward expansion. One of its key security demands from the West before the Ukraine operation was a guarantee that Ukraine would never be part of the US-led military alliance.
Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
The military operation, now into its third month, has led to heightened tensions between Russia and the West, with the US and its allies slapping unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.
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