Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has again assured that he has 'no problem' with neighbours Finland and Sweden joining NATO while at the same time decrying the alliance's 'imperial ambitions' and bid to assert 'supremacy'
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Humiliated Putin scrambles to save face as Sweden and Finland join Nato: Russian leader says countries ‘can join whatever they like’ – and insists his army did NOT bomb Ukrainian shopping mall

  • Putin insists he does not care if neighbours Finland and Sweden join NATO 
  • But he spoke out against its ‘imperial ambitions’ and bid to assert ‘supremacy’
  • He also denied that his army struck the mall in Ukraine that killed 18 civilians
  • He was speaking in Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat for the VI Caspian Summit

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has again assured that he has ‘no problem’ with neighbours Finland and Sweden joining NATO, while at the same time decrying the alliance’s ‘imperial ambitions’ and bid to assert ‘supremacy’.

His remarks come as NATO formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance after Turkey dropped its opposition, while also announcing it will boost troops on its eastern flank by almost 4,000 compared to March this year. 

Moscow reacted with fury to the news of NATO’s expansion, saying it will be ‘destabilising’ for Europe. 

‘Ukraine and the wellbeing of Ukrainian people is not the aim of the collective West and NATO but a means to defend their own interests,’ Putin told journalists in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat.

‘The NATO countries’ leaders wish to… assert their supremacy, their imperial ambitions,’ he added.

Putin also denied responsibility for the missile strike on the Kremenchuk shopping mall earlier this week that killed at least 18 people, with dozens still unaccounted for.

‘Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure site. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where,’ Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat. 

The Russian autocrat was there for the VI Caspian Summit of leaders from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to discuss ‘topical issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea’.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has again assured that he has 'no problem' with neighbours Finland and Sweden joining NATO while at the same time decrying the alliance's 'imperial ambitions' and bid to assert 'supremacy'

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has again assured that he has ‘no problem’ with neighbours Finland and Sweden joining NATO while at the same time decrying the alliance’s ‘imperial ambitions’ and bid to assert ‘supremacy’

Putin was in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to attend the VI Caspian Summit with the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan

Putin was in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to attend the VI Caspian Summit with the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan

From the left: Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdymukhamedov, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the VI Caspian Summit

From the left: Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdymukhamedov, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the VI Caspian Summit

As many as 1,000 people were feared to have been inside when it was hit. Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky denounced Russia’s actions as ‘one of the most daring terrorist attacks in European history’. Russia has accused Ukraine of staging the attack. 

Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry, said its military fired a ‘high-precision air attack at hangars where armament and munitions were stored’, and the explosion of those weapon caches caused a fire in the nearby shopping mall, which he said was ‘non-functioning’ at the time. 

Russian denials have been met with scepticism and debunked by numerous media outlets and open source intelligence analysts. 

There is even video of CCTV that shows a large missile hitting the the mall at 3.51pm on Monday. 

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