Putin Ally Aims to Annex NATO Member into Russia

Russian Figures Escalate Rhetoric Against NATO Members

by Zain ul Abedin
Putin Ally Aims to Annex NATO Member into Russia
© Pool/Getty Images

In a recent broadcast on Russia 1, a prominent state-run TV channel in Moscow, host Vladimir Solovyov, a known ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, sparked controversy with his remarks about incorporating a NATO member country into Russia.

Amid the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Solovyov's comments targeted Lisbon, Portugal's capital, suggesting its annexation to Moscow. This provocative statement was translated and shared on X (formerly known as Twitter) by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs.

The notion of Russia eyeing a NATO founding member like Portugal comes at a tense moment, with Western nations consistently cautioning Moscow against any aggressive moves towards NATO allies. The situation has been particularly fraught since Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

During the show, when asked about Russia's interest in Portugal, Solovyov whimsically remarked, "You don't need it, but I like it very much." He further elaborated that such strategic decisions should start from natural obstacles, citing his training under Soviet military commanders.

Rising Geopolitical Tensions

Furthermore, Solovyov audaciously claimed that "the Portuguese would live just fine as part of the Russian empire," a statement that has raised eyebrows internationally. Newsweek has reportedly reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry and Portugal's Minister of Foreign Affairs for comments on these developments.

This incident isn't isolated. Earlier in the month, Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian President and Deputy Chairman of Moscow's Security Council, targeted Poland with hostile rhetoric in a Reuters report. He labeled Poland a "historical enemy" and warned of catastrophic consequences for Polish statehood.

In a similar vein, Yevgeny Satanovsky, President of Russia's Institute of the Middle East, appeared on Russia-1, advocating for Russia's reclamation of Alaska, a territory sold to the U.S. in 1867 for $7.2 million. These statements, while often viewed as rhetorical posturing, reflect an ongoing pattern of provocative commentary from Russian officials and media personalities.

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy's response to the idea of Russia retaking Alaska was terse and dismissive: "Good luck." Such exchanges underscore the heightened tensions and complex geopolitical dynamics involving Russia, NATO members, and the broader international community amidst the continuing Ukrainian crisis.