Only days ago, Russian foreign ministry officials were warning Finland about “retaliation” if its leaders applied to join NATO. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev spouted dire nuclear threats, and many Western pundits warned about the danger of further NATO expansion.
Yet on Monday, after top Finnish and Swedish officials announced plans to join NATO — abandoning a long history of military nonalignment — Vladimir Putin did an about-face. He said there was “no immediate threat to Russia” if Finland and Sweden joined the Western military alliance.
This reversal is a perfect illustration of how Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has boomeranged.