German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks at a news conference, during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera

The heads of state and government of the 30 NATO members ended their two-day summit in Madrid on Thursday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not expect any new tensions in the alliance with Russia after Finland and Sweden join NATO. President Vladimir Putin was “unperturbed” by the upcoming expansion, says Scholz.

In this respect, according to the current status, no escalation is foreseeable. That Putin calls NATO imperialist is “ridiculous,” adds Scholz. NATO is a purely defensive alliance. Instead, it is Russia itself that is acting imperialistically.

Putin had accused NATO of “imperial ambitions”. The military alliance is trying to assert its “supremacy” through the Ukraine conflict, he said on Wednesday in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabad.

Scholz emphasizes that a Russian dictated peace with Ukraine will not end Western sanctions. Instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin should stop the war immediately.

“Leave it alone,” says Scholz. It is a “terrible war” in which innocent people are being killed and tremendous destruction is being caused. And it’s a war that doesn’t make sense from Russia’s point of view, either, because it’s destroying the country’s future.

Scholz sees a threat to Europe and NATO in Russia. “It threatens the international order,” said Scholz on Thursday at the end of the NATO summit in Madrid, with a view to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

“As a result of its aggressive policy, Russia is once again a threat to Europe and to the alliance.” NATO is drawing the right conclusions from the changed world situation. “NATO is therefore strengthening its defense capability, particularly with regard to the security of its members along the eastern flank.”

Scholz also announced that Germany would begin ratifying the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO later this week.

According to the Chancellor, Germany will also permanently have an armored division with 15,000 soldiers, a regional naval command, 60 aircraft and 20 naval units.

The 30 NATO member states decided on Wednesday to increase the number of soldiers on high operational readiness from 40,000 to 300,000. In addition, more heavy weapons are being transferred, especially to the Baltic States and Poland.