One of Russia’s long-held grudges with the West has been the expansion of NATO into former Soviet satellites and to the borders of Russia itself. If there is one thing that keeps the Kremlin up at night, this is it. So it is no surprise that Moscow is extremely worried about more of the Nordic states joining the alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the issue at a recent news conference on talks with Finland: “Do you think we will continue to act in the same manner [if Finland joins NATO]? We have withdrawn our troops 1,500 [kilometers from the border]. Do you think they will stay there?”
According to Putin, Moscow will try to start dialogue with NATO in spite of the alliance’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, reported the Russian State News Agency TASS.
“The Finnish president came up with the proposals today at least on the first steps aimed at enhancing confidence and preventing conflicts. I have already said that I agree with this,” Putin said. “We will try to begin the dialogue with NATO at the summit in Brussels.”