Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to counter NATO efforts for expansion faced a setback as Turkey paved the way for Sweden to join the strategic alliance.The Turkish parliament approved Sweden’s NATO membership with a vote of 287 to 55, as reported by the Associated Press. 

Notable Amount 

Four members chose to abstained, 

Source: NBC News

While a considerable amount chose to not participate in the vote among the 600-member legislative body.

Russian President

Despite resistance from the Russian president, NATO chose to continue to expand its borders and brought Finland into the alliance last year. 

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However, Sweden’s membership remains uncertain, facing objections from Turkey and Hungary.

Possible Threat To Russia 

Putin and his allies have strongly opposed NATO expansion, 

Source: Unsplash/Random Institute

Claiming that it could endanger Russia and underscoring it as a motivating factor behind Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine almost two years ago.

The Baltic Sea

Should Sweden become part of NATO, the alliance would have significant influence over the Baltic Sea, with the exception of the Russian exclave Kaliningrad that is situated between Lithuania and Poland. 

Source: AP

On Tuesday, Newsweek contacted Putin’s office for a response via email. 


Dr. Erwan Lagadec, an associate research professor at George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, informed Newsweek that Putin’s reaction to Finland’s admission, 

Source: Global News

dismissing its significance as “not a big deal, “may be repeated if Sweden’s inclusion is confirmed.”


Lagadec said, “Finland’s accession on the face of it is such an obvious own-goal for the Kremlin,” 

Source: Unsplash/israel palacio

“Putin is also fully cognizant of the fact that there’s not much he can do in practice to retaliate, as his military is already overstretched in Ukraine.”

Future Elections

He added,

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“The context of the upcoming elections in Russia makes it even more likely that Putin will dismiss the news, and let his ‘attack dogs’ do the dirty work of signaling to Russian nationalists that he’s on top of things.” 


Following Turkey’s decision on Tuesday, the sole remaining NATO member to support Sweden’s accession is Hungary. 

Source: Reuters

Hungary, under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, is frequently portrayed as a Putin ally.

The Repercussions 


Source: nato

Lagadec added that “the consequences of Sweden joining NATO are in some ways even more dire for Russia” than Finland’s membership, since “the move would complete the transformation of the Baltic Sea into a “NATO lake.”

National Consequences 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement to NATO, “I also count on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible,” 

Source: Unsplash/Vladislav Klapin

“Sweden has fulfilled its commitments. Sweden’s membership makes NATO stronger and all of us safer.”

The Vote In Turkey

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson conveyed his joy over Turkey’s vote in a social media post on X, previously known as Twitter,

Source: Unsplash/Anna Berdnik

stating that it marked a significant step for his country and “one step closer to becoming a full member of NATO.”

Hungarian Parliament

The timing of when the Hungarian parliament, presently on recess until mid-February, 

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will address Sweden’s membership remains uncertain.

‘No Geopolitical Interest”‘

In the month prior, 

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Putin stressed that he was “interested in developing relations” with NATO members and had “no reason” and “no geopolitical interest” to “fight with” member states.


Per a ISW report, 

Source: Unsplash/ Lukas Blazek

Putin’s recent remarks concerning the Baltic Sea were interpreted as “to set information conditions” for “future escalations” that could possibly undermine and eventually break apart NATO.

Lacked Credibility

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a United States-based think tank, dismissed the remarks made at the time, 

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Arguing that Putin’s argument lacked credibility because of “the threats he and Kremlin pundits have recently been making against NATO member states.”