Russian President Vladimir Putin
Sweden And Finland Look Forward To 'Swift' NATO Accession Photo by Getty Images

Vladimir Putin’s recent remarks on “responding in kind” should Sweden and Finland host NATO's military forces and infrastructure are interpreted as mere grandstanding by global military experts. James Carafano, Vice President of the Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation cited that Putin’s comments on Wednesday only mean that the Kremlin is not actually responding to a legitimate external threat. After both neutral countries expressed intent to join the alliance, the Russian leader is said to be likely just posturing to save face in light of its disastrous invasion of Ukraine.

According to Fox News, Turkey announced it has changed its mind and lifted opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. During a gathering of NATO alliances in Madrid last week, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed the historical reversal of neutral positions of both countries and Turkey's support for their bid to join the organization. "We now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO," he said.

The joint agreement was signed on Tuesday after diplomats and leaders from Turkey, Finland and Sweden discussed the new alliance memberships with Stoltenberg for over two hours. This brought other matters to the table with Turkey demanding both countries extradite wanted criminals and lift arms restrictions imposed on Turkey in its 2019 military incursion into northeast Syria.

The new memorandum will enable NATO leaders to increase their strength for a rapid response to Russia’s unpredictable and aggressive military operations. NATO forces will be around 300,000 from its previous 40,000 troops but are to be based in their home countries and dedicated to specific nations situated on its’s eastern flank. Although experts think Putin’s comments may just as easily be considered a bluff, these should still be taken seriously.

"I'm not sure I would read anything strategic into it because on its face: It's a completely ridiculous statement," Carafano said.

"Finland and Sweden already cooperate and integrate its stuff with the U.S. military, so the notion that any NATO member would allow an outsider like Russia to dictate what kind of deployment infrastructure could be in a NATO territory is just laughable on its face," he explained.

On the other hand, James Anderson, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during President Trump's administration argued that although there is a need for Putin to save face, there is no doubt that the unpredictable leader fears this alliance as it only made Russia’s invasion even less secure. Being that both Finland and Sweden are in a strategic geographical position, Russia could be planning something underneath Putin's sarcastic comments.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves Red Square after the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. - Russia celebrates the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. Photo by Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

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