Image by David Liuzzo
Russian President Vladimir Putin says if Sweden joins NATO Russia will consider it a threat and will look for ways to ‘eliminate it.’ Putin made the comments Thursday to a group of media outlets in Moscow. He declared the scenario would hurt relations between Russia and Sweden.
“If Sweden joins NATO, it will negatively affect our relations because it will mean that NATO facilities will be set up in Sweden so we will have to think about the best ways to respond to this additional threat,” the Russian leader said, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“We will consider this [Sweden’s joining NATO – TASS] as an additional threat for Russia and will search for the ways to eliminate it…it does not mean that we will be swept up in hysteria and point our nuclear missiles at Sweden…However, we will have to do something about it because we consider it as an additional threat.”
Putin added the decision “can only be made by the Swedish authorities elected by the people to lead the country…as far as enhancing Sweden’s military capabilities is concerned, this [NATO membership – TASS] will not be of any help…It will only limit its sovereignty in decision-making, which is obvious, because NATO member states cannot make decisions in relation, say, to the deployment of military infrastructure to their territory.”