June 8, 2017
Putin Vows Military Response to 'Eliminate NATO Threat' If Sweden Joins US-Led Alliance
By Damien Sharkov, Newsweek
“If Sweden joins NATO this will affect our relations in a negative way because we will consider that the infrastructure of the military bloc now approaches us from the Swedish side,” Putin told state news agency Itar-Tass. “We will interpret that as an additional threat for Russia and we will think about how to eliminate this threat....”
Last year Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Stockholm that Russia would take a military response to potential Swedish entry into NATO and on Thursday Putin elaborated on the extent of such a response.
“This does not quite mean that we will become hysterical and we will aim our nuclear missiles at Sweden,” Putin said. “But we will be obliged to undertake something because we see this as an additional threat to Russia.”
The Russian leader said “only a sick person” would imagine Russia attacking Sweden but noted that NATO membership would add “simply nil” in the way of defense capability improvements to Sweden....