Putin explains how Finland, Sweden membership in NATO different from Ukraine's
Russian president says Moscow views Scandinavian nations' accession to NATO differently, unlike Ukraine, since it has no territorial disputes
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow views Finland and Sweden membership to NATO differently from Ukraine's because it has no territorial disputes with the Scandinavian countries.
However, if Helsinki and Stockholm allow the deployment of contingents and weaponry of the military alliance in their respective countries, the situation will deteriorate, forcing Moscow to take appropriate countermeasures, the Russian president warned during a news conference in Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat on Wednesday.
"We do not have such problems with Sweden and Finland, which, unfortunately, we have with Ukraine. We have no territorial issues… no disputes… we have nothing that could bother us from the point of view of Finland's or Sweden's membership in NATO.
"Only they should plainly and clearly realize that there were no threats before, now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in a mirror manner and create the same threats to the territories from which threats are created to us," he stressed.
In response to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's statement that Russia now has "more NATO" on its border, Putin stated that Finland and Sweden's membership is significantly different from Ukraine's.
"These are completely different things. They understand this perfectly, and they just throw this thesis into public opinion to show that Russia did not achieve the desired outcomes," he said.
Unlike Finland and Sweden, Ukraine was becoming "anti-Russian," with those "who feel themselves a part of the Russian world" being persecuted, he added.
Putin brushed aside Stoltenberg's assertion that NATO has been preparing for conflict with Russia since 2014, by saying it is not news.
Russia clearly anticipated that NATO, under the guidance of the US, was looking for an enemy to unite allies. Iran does not fit for this (enemy) role and Russia does, he added.
"We gave them such a chance -- to unite all the allies on a new historical turn. There is nothing new for us. This once again confirms what we have been talking about all along, namely, that the NATO bloc is a vestige of a past era -- the era of the Cold War.
"We have been told all the time that NATO has changed, that it is now a political union, but everyone was looking for a reason and an opportunity to give it a new impetus as a military organization," he noted.
Putin said the ultimate goals of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine remain the liberation of Donbas, the protection of its people, and the development of conditions that would guarantee Russia's security.
"The work goes on calmly, (and) rhythmically. As you can see, the troops are moving and reaching the set tasks. Everything is going according to the plan," he asserted.
The Russian president stated that he sees no need to artificially adjust the operation to some parameters because doing so would necessitate intensifying military efforts, which would result in heavier human losses.
"And first of all, we have to think about how to save the lives of people," he stressed.
When asked about the allegations of a strike on a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk, Putin said the Russian army does not target civilians, has clear coordinates of military targets, and employs high-precision weapons to avoid collateral damage.
About the statement of the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, who had said, "war can only be won on the battlefield," Putin said his words confirm that Ukraine is the West's tool for achieving its own interests.
"By the hands of the Ukrainian people, NATO members and the leading NATO countries simply want to assert themselves further, to assert their role in the world, to confirm not leadership, but their hegemonies in the literal sense of the word, their imperial ambitions.
"And the fact that they have always talked about their exclusivity, talked and introduced into the consciousness of the world community the thesis and slogan that ‘who is not with us is against us’ is all a manifestation of the same policy. There is nothing new for us here," the president noted.
When asked about the G7 leaders' remarks about him, Putin stated that the current period is not the best in terms of relations with them.
Responding to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said if Putin were a woman, he would not have started the war, Putin said Britain had waged a war against Argentina not so long ago and that the decision to start the conflict was made by a woman -- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"Therefore, I think that from the current Prime Minister of Great Britain, this is not a very correct reference to what is happening today," he said.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.