Russia's Lavrov says Finland, Sweden joining NATO makes 'no big difference'

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the media during a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan May 13, 2022. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

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May 17 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would probably make "not much difference" as the two countries had long participated in the alliance's military drills.

"Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years," Lavrov said.

"NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the East. So in this sense there is probably not much difference. Let's see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance."

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