Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow does not regard NATO’s expansion towards its borders as positive as Sweden and Finland are likely to join the western military coalition.
He said on Wednesday that Moscow would have to react to a possible change in the balance of forces in Europe if Sweden and Finland decide to enter NATO, Russia Today reported.
“This is their own business; they are making decisions in accordance with the national sovereignty doctrine. But we have to consider the fact that for us the NATO bloc is not simply some estranged organization, but a structure with military potential, ” Medvedev said at the Euro - Arctic Council’s forum.
He noted that under certain scenarios this potential could be employed against Russia. The Russian prime minister added that all new members of the North Atlantic alliance that are in Russia’s proximity “eventually do change the parity of the military force. And we have to react to this.” The issue of NATO expansion towards Russia’s borders is also significant as it has direct links to the deployment of missile system in NATO member countries. On May 27, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was still concerned about the deployment of US/NATO missile systems in Europe and wanted more specific technical guarantees that the missiles would not be used against Russia. In an interview with the state-run Voice of Russia radio network Ryabkov said that the US proposals on missile systems are "concrete" and "serious," but Moscow still viewed them as insufficient. In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow remained concerned about the plans of Washington and NATO to build an anti-missile system around Western Europe.