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Vladimir Putin says Biden claim Russia could attack Nato is ‘nonsense’ but warns of ‘problems’ with Finland

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has dismissed as “nonsense” remarks by US President Joe Biden that Russia would attack a Nato country if it won the war in Ukraine – despite suggesting that Finland’s entry into the military alliance would cause “problems”.

In a plea to Republicans not to block further military aid to Kyiv, Mr Biden had warned that Moscow could launch an attack against a country in the military alliance if it succeeds in Ukraine.

“It is complete nonsense - and I think President Biden understands that,” the Russian president said in an interview published on Sunday by Rossiya state television.

“Russia has no reason, no interest - no geopolitical interest, neither economic, political nor military - to fight with NATO countries,” he added.

Putin has repeatedly criticised Nato and claimed, without evidence, that its expansion represents a security threat to Russia.

In April, Putin said that Finland’s entry into Nato would force Russia to “concentrate certain military units” in northern Russia near their border. The country made the decision to join the military alliance following Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

On Sunday, Putin claimed without evidence that the west had “dragged Finland into Nato”, adding: “Did we have any disputes with them? All disputes, including territorial ones in the mid-20th century, have long been solved.

“There were no problems there, now there will be, because we will create the Leningrad military district and concentrate a certain amount of military units there.”

Asked about how common ground could be found with the West given the rhetoric on both sides, Putin said: “They will have to find common ground because they will have to reckon with us.”

Separately, the governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region said on Sunday that debris from a downed drone had killed a civilian.

Air defence systems destroyed nine Iran-made attack drones over Odesa, Governor Oleh Kiper said on the Telegram messaging app, calling it the third Russian air assault on the region in the past week.

“However, one of the downed drones fell into a residential area in Odesa district and exploded,” Kiper said, adding that several houses were damaged and one person was found dead in one of them afterwards.