WASHINGTON, April 21. /TASS/. As part of its standoff with Russia, the United States has been actively pushing Finland and Sweden to join NATO, US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh told an online seminar on Thursday.
"We are also trying to deal Vladimir Putin a very weak strategic hand by helping Europe diversify away from Russian energy, by encouraging countries like Sweden and Finland to join the NATO alliance, by fortifying NATO’s eastern flank, by dealing with the spillovers of this war in the developing world, food in particular but also energy and migration flows," he said.
In his opinion, those measures combined with economic sanctions should allow Washington to "create leverage" on Russia.
Earlier, US officials said on many occasions that it was up to Finland and Sweden to decide whether they should join NATO.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Russia-24 TV channel on Wednesday that Russia had warned Sweden and Finland about the consequences of their possible accession to NATO.
Earlier, The Times newspaper, citing its sources, reported that Helsinki and Stockholm may apply to NATO as early as this summer. On April 14, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia will beef up security along its Western borders if Sweden and Finland join NATO and then "there can no longer be talk about the Baltic’s non-nuclear status.".