Russia warns NATO against expansion

Russia does not support the desire of Finland and Sweden to become NATO members and warns the alliance against any expansion.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said such a move would not help European stability. He told media representatives: “The Alliance remains an instrument of confrontation.”

His words came against the background of statements by the US Department of Defense that the Russian special operation in Ukraine was a “major strategic mistake” that could lead to NATO expansion. It is expected that already in June the Scandinavian countries can apply for NATO membership.

If this happens, then the western alliance will have 32 members. Washington supports this decision, representatives of the State Department last week announced the talks between the Foreign Ministers from Stockholm and Helsinki, and NATO leaders.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Federation demanded from NATO the consent to stop the expansion of the alliance. However, the outbreak of hostilities entailed the strengthening of its eastern flank with additional troops and increased support for the entry of the Scandinavian countries into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Finnish parliamentarians are expected to receive a security report from intelligence officials this week, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said she expects her government to “finish the discussion by mid-summer” on whether to apply for membership.

However, Moscow has made it clear that it is opposed to any potential expansion of the alliance. Peskov said that the bloc “is not an alliance that ensures peace and stability, and its further expansion will not bring additional security to the European continent.” He warned that Russia would have to “balance the situation” with its own measures if Sweden and Finland joined the alliance.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, spoke in February of “military and political consequences” if countries join the bloc. But despite the warnings, both countries continued their bids and increased defense spending.

On Monday, Helsinki announced a new plan to allocate 14 million euros for the purchase of drones for the Finnish Armed Forces. And Sweden has said it will increase defense spending by 3 billion crowns ($317 million) in 2022. air force.

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