No signs of Russian threat to Sweden, Finland, says NATO deputy chief

"We don't see signs from Russia of having the capabilities or intention at this point to be aggressive in military terms against these two aspirant countries," Mircea Geoana said.

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NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana speaks to the media as he arrives for a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin on May 15, 2022. (Michele Tantussi / Reuters File Photo)

COPENHAGEN — NATO’s deputy chief sees no immediate military threat to Sweden and Finland from Russia and is confident that the aspiring NATO members will join the alliance despite Turkey’s objections, he told the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday.

Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but face opposition from Turkey, which accuses them of supporting and harboring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists.

“We are confident that Sweden and Finland will join our ranks,” Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said. “Allies have concerns. And Turkey has some concerns that are legitimate when it comes to terrorists,” he added.

Sweden and Finland have said they condemn terrorism and are open to dialogue.

Asked about security guarantees provided to Sweden and Finland in the period up until they become full-fledged members of NATO, Geoana said he did not see any real risk to the countries from Russia.

“We don’t see signs from Russia of having the capabilities or intention at this point to be aggressive in military terms against these two aspirant countries,” he said.

“We can treat this period with caution in a proactive way, but we don’t see real risks from a traditional military standpoint for Finland and Sweden.”

Finland said on Thursday it plans to amend border legislation to allow the building of barriers on its eastern frontier with Russia in a move to strengthen preparedness against hybrid threats.