Apr 12, 2022 14:46 UTC
  • Russia warns against NATO expansion

Russia has repeated its warning against further expansion of the NATO military alliance, saying the alliance remains “a tool of confrontation”.

Addressing a press conference in Moscow, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the plan of Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance would not bring stability to Europe.

He blasted NATO as “a tool geared towards confrontation and its further expansion will not bring stability to the European continent.”

His remarks came after a senior US State Department official said the prospects of two European countries joining NATO were discussed between top diplomats from the alliance in Brussels last week.

According to a report by The Times, Finland and Sweden look poised to join the alliance as soon as summer. Finland’s application is expected in June, with Sweden expected to follow.

The report cited a senior American official saying that the membership would be a “massive strategic blunder” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Washington justifies the military alliance’s enlargement as a move in response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, which has led to a simmering crisis between the two countries.

Putin: Russia cannot be isolated

Putin warned the West on Tuesday that attempts to isolate Moscow would fail, citing the success of the Soviet space program as evidence that Russia could achieve spectacular leaps forward in tough conditions. 

Russia says it will never again depend on the West after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions on it to punish Putin for his Feb. 24 order for what he called a "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"We don't intend to be isolated," Putin said. "It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world - especially such a vast country as Russia," Putin said.

Putin says the "special military operation" in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia - including via the NATO military alliance.

He said on Tuesday that the had no doubts Russia would achieve all of its objectives in Ukraine - a conflict he cast as both inevitable and essential to defend Russia in the long term. 

"Its goals are absolutely clear and noble," Putin said. "It's clear that we didn't have a choice. It was the right decision."