A bad day for Vladimir Putin as Sweden and Finland invited to join NATO – but what price did they pay?

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This was a bad day for Vladimir Putin and one of his strategic objectives.

He says he is fighting this war partly because of the threat of NATO expansion.

He now has thousands more NATO troops on their way to countries on his border and two once staunchly neutral countries swelling the ranks of the alliance.

Sweden and Finland will now join NATO, alarmed at what has happened to Ukraine at the hands of Russia’s invasion.

Their application will be pushed through as fast as possible, which must be galling for the Ukrainians who want to join the alliance too even if they know that is never likely to happen any time soon.

And there are questions over the price paid by Sweden and Finland and possibly other members of the alliance to overcome Turkey’s objections to them joining.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has got everything he wants from negotiations over their accession.

Vladimir Putin,

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Most of all the Turks wanted promises from the Swedes and Finns over the Kurds.

The Turks say both countries have agreed to fully cooperate with Turkey on the PKK, the militant group that’s been fighting for an independent Kurdish homeland in Turkey since the 1980s.

But they say Sweden and Finland have also agreed not to support the YPG, the mainly Kurdish group that led the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria in alliance with the west. Turkey regard them as terrorists.

The Turks say both countries have agreed on “intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorism and organised crime”.

How far will that include gathering intelligence on Kurds?

There are 100,000 people in the Kurdish diaspora in Sweden, among them supporters of the PKK.

Turkey has wasted no time asking for the extradition of 33 Kurds from Finland and Sweden calling them terrorist suspects.

Kurds also fear the deal will be seen by Turkey as a green light to renew attacks on the Kurdish enclave in Rojava in northern Syria.

Turkey’s president has recently threatened to launch a fresh invasion into northern Syria to recapture towns held by the YPG.

The US sees the group as an important ally. Turkey regards it as an extension of the PKK.