In light of the continuation of the Russian military operation in Ukraine on its 69th day, amid growing fears for its expansion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that he would not rule out that Russia will attack other countries.
“Nobody can assume that Russia will not attack other countries,” he said in statements today, Tuesday.
Sweden, Finland and NATO
He also stressed that his country strongly supports the accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“If these two countries decide to join NATO, they can count on our support,” he said in a statement after hosting Swedish and Finnish leaders.
This issue represented a “red line” for Moscow, which in past had repeatedly threatened some of its officials to take action in answer to tale step.
He also repeatedly put in guard over NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe, considering this a threat to its security, especially in light of the violent conflict with Ukraine.
While the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), which in in the past they were part of the Soviet Union and one of the last countries to join NATO after its expansion in 2004, they fear that Moscow will respond to the step of uniting Finland and Sweden, on the territory of one of those countries, in a scenario similar to the Ukrainian one.
Close NATO partners
Interestingly, Finland, a member of the European Union, which officially follows a non-aligned approach with Sweden, are close partners of NATO.
However, Helsinki is looking forward to finalizing its alliance membership decision before the end of June, and possibly this month until (May 2022).
The Russian military operation, launched in Ukrainian territory on February 24, has accelerated the question of joining the two countries to the alliance, although Moscow has repeatedly confirmed its rejection of this expansion.
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