Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during an interview with French daily newspaper Le Figaro in Paris, France May 29, 2017. Picture taken May 29, 2017. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX38BS0

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed deep opposition to the idea of Sweden joining NATO, calling its potential membership of the U.S.-led alliance a “threat” that would need to be “eliminated.”
“If Sweden joins NATO this will affect our relations in a negative way because we will consider that the infrastructure of the military bloc now approaches us from the Swedish side,” Putin told state news agency Itar-Tass. “We will interpret that as an additional threat for Russia and we will think about how to eliminate this threat.”
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Russian officials have repeatedly treated NATO expansion near or at its borders as encroachment, rather than a desire by their smaller neighbors to deter Russian military incursion as sustained by Ukraine in 2014. Currently only Montenegro is on the list of countries to be inducted into NATO, as Sweden …
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