Putin humiliated as Kremlin ‘move goalposts’ on NATO expansion ‘Called Russia’s bluff!’

Russia's 'bluff being called' with expansion of NATO says expert

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The geopolitical analyst and author believes Russia’s “bluff has been called”after both Finland and Sweden applied this week to join the NATO military alliance. The Finns and Swedes opted to join the bloc despite much “bluster and escalation” from Moscow. Mr Bremmer has argued that Vladimir Putin has in been forced to back down in the face of NATO expansion in the Baltic with the rhetoric coming from the Kremlin shifting in recent days.

Mr Bremmer told CNN: “Western leaders need to understand that these things will be perceived as escalations by Putin.

“But let’s also remember that when Finland and Sweden were first talking about the fact that they would be interested in joining NATO two-plus months ago, what you heard from Russia was there will be military consequences.

“‘We’re gonna raise our nuclear forces on higher alert,’ I mean, it was truly this kind of bluster and escalation.

“Yet over the last couple of weeks, what we’ve heard from the Kremlin has been moving the goalposts ‘while it’s no big deal,’ says the Russian Foreign Minister, they’re small countries, we didn’t mean if they joined NATO, we mean if there’s NATO infrastructure and bases put on their territory, which the Finnish government has already said they have no intention of doing.”

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He added: “So, I mean, what this looks like, is the Russians bluff being caught.

“It kind of makes you wish that the invasions of 2008 into Georgia and 2014 into Ukraine, were seen as sufficient crises that the West would have responded to the Russians then.

“Of course, the precise fact is that it wasn’t, it was too small we couldn’t be bothered we had other things on our plate.

‘So Putin thought he couldn’t get away with more and more and more.”

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Russia’s state gas company, Gazprom, has halted gas exports to Finland, which refused Moscow’s demands to pay in roubles for Russian gas after Western countries imposed sanctions over the invasion.

Finnish state-owned gas wholesaler Gasum, the Finnish government and individual gas-consuming companies in Finland have said they were prepared for a shutdown of Russian flows.

Most European supply contracts are denominated in euros or dollars.

Last month, Moscow cut off gas to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused to comply with the new terms.

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Meanwhile, Ukraine has ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow while Russia stepped up its attack in the eastern Donbas region and stopped sending gas to Finland in its latest response to Western sanctions and its deepening international isolation.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told lawmakers in Kyiv that the international community had to demand Russia’s complete withdrawal from Ukrainian territory and that sacrificing even an inch of it would be a “huge blow” to the entire West.

“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands,” Duda said, the first foreign leader to address Ukrainian lawmakers in person since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future.”

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