Russia has “no problems” with the two Scandinavian countries, Dmitry Peskov has said
Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO is not a problem for Russia as Ukraine’s would be, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview on Monday.
Russia “have no problems with either Sweden or Finland,” Peskov told the RBK channel. “We have no security-related problems with them, we have no territorial disputes with them, these countries are not waging a civil war against their regions, these countries are not killing Russians on their territory, these countries are not banning the Russians the language as the language of the outcasts. Therefore, we have no problem with them.”
“But with Ukraine, things are completely different, and the situation in Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable for us,” he added.
RBK interviewed Peskov on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, which started on Sunday and will run through September 13.
The two Scandinavian countries abandoned their long-standing neutrality to apply for NATO membership last year, citing the Ukraine conflict. Finland had assumed neutrality after the Second World War, where it had been allied with the Axis. Sweden had been neutral for nearly two centuries, having lost Finland to Russia in the Napoleonic Wars.
Originally, both countries were to join NATO at the same time. However, Sweden’s bid has been delayed due to disputes with Hungary and Turkey, while Finland was accepted in April.
Last week, the Finnish daily Iltalehti reported that US air assets will soon be stationed in Rovaniemi, a town in Lapland just 150 km (93 miles) from the Russian border.
Peskov addressed these reports by saying that Russia hopes that neither Sweden nor Finland will threaten its security and “that there will be no missiles on the territory of these countries that would be aimed at us.”
He insisted that Moscow has not toiled “rose colored glasses” in the case of NATO, to recognize that it is a product of the Cold War. The US-led military bloc “driving tensions and confrontations on the European continent” and is of nature “cannot perform any functions or actions that lead to demotion,” concluded Peskov.