Putin eyes new battleground as Nato expansion ramps up pressure
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The Russian President launched his brutal attack in February but it has not gone to plan and Sweden and Finland look set for NATO membership. President Vladimir Putin has made regular threats against Russia’s Scandinavian neighbours since then as fears mount about what the strongman might do next. Express.co.uk looks at the Russian leader’s threats to Sweden since Moscow has ramped up tension between Moscow and Stockholm.
Russian planes violate Swedish airspace
Military planes from Russia violated Swedish airspace earlier this month in a chilling warning against Russia’s neighbours.
Two fighter jets accompanied a signal reconnaissance plane north of Visby on June 9 without reporting the approach.
The tactic is a common one from Russia and in February this year, RAF jets were scrambled to intercept four Russian military aircraft flying north of Scotland.
Putin speaks of returning Russian lands
The Russian President recently found inspiration in former tsar Peter the Great who fought against Sweden for 21 years.
Mr Putin made the comments earlier this month when he said Russia returned its lands in the war and now it falls on the current generation to do so again.
The warning increased fears that Putin could escalate his conflict to other states.
Nuclear weapons threat against Sweden and NATO
After Russia invaded Ukraine the world watched in anticipation of how the NATO military alliance would respond.
While its members separately supported Ukraine, Sweden and Finland sought to secure their own safety by applying for membership.
In May, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called it a mistake which will have “far-reaching consequences”, Interfax reported.
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Mr Putin’s ally Dmitry Medvedev did not mince his words after learning about Sweden and Finland’s NATO application.
Speaking about the decision in April, the Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council said: “There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored.”
Russia has one of the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world and the comments heightened fears of nuclear war in Europe.
Will Russia and Sweden go to war?
Despite Moscow’s threats against Sweden, it is unlikely that the two countries will fight each other on the battlefield.
Sweden’s NATO application and promises of military protection from western governments would cause a huge escalation and stretch Russia’s military too thinly.
Threats against Sweden and other countries appear to be a Russian tactic to discourage other neutral countries from joining the military alliance.
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