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Macron Did Not Threaten Putin for Opposing Sweden and Finland Joining NATO

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
25th May 2022
Macron Did Not Threaten Putin for Opposing Sweden and Finland Joining NATO
France announces its solidarity with Finland and Sweden (Getty).

The Claim

A video circulating shows French President Emmanuel Macron threatening Russia’s President Vladimir Putin with nuclear weapons, saying: “if you get close to Finland and Sweden, Russia will cease to exist.”

Emerging story

Social media users across the MENA region are circulating a video with the claim that French President Emmanuel Macron threatened Russian president Vladimir Putin with nuclear weapons if Russia stood in the way of Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The claim adds that Macron swore to Putin that if he goes near Finland or Sweden, Russia will  cease to exist on Earth. 

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Photo Description: A screenshot of the circulating claim.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the circulating claim and found it to be fake. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, did not threaten Russian President Vladimir Putin with nuclear weapons if Sweden and Finland did not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Misbar was unable to locate any reports on the claim on official French websites or other credible news sources.

Introduction of the Video is Old

Macron's speech in the video's introduction was traced back to a video published on April 26, 2017. It was from an event at which Macron spoke before becoming President of the French Republic in Arras, France. The speech is clearly unrelated to current events surrounding Russia and NATO, based on the video, date, and context. Macron's speech addressed France's challenges as well as his desire to rebuild French unity. He warned French citizens not to vote for Marine Le Pen's French National Front, a right-wing party.

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France will Stand in Solidarity with Finland and Sweden Against Threats

The claims began to circulate after a statement issued on May 16 by Elysée, the French president's official residence, announcing that Finland and Sweden had made a sovereign decision to apply for NATO membership. The decision was made after a thorough examination of changes in their security environment. "Whoever would seek to test European solidarity by threatening or attacking their sovereignty, by whatever means," the statement continues, "must be certain that France will stand shoulder to shoulder with Finland and Sweden." France reiterated its commitment and solidarity in accordance with Article 42.7 of the European Union Treaty. They also stated their willingness to expand defense and security cooperation with both Sweden and Finland "via high-level political consultations and enhanced military interactions."

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NATO Considers Finland and Sweden's Membership Applications

On Thursday, May 19, the NATO military commission met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss Finland and Sweden's official application. Army chiefs of staff from NATO member countries, as well as Finland, Sweden, and Ukraine attended the meeting. Participants discussed deterrence implementation in the European and Atlantic regions, as well as military developments with NATO partners in Asia and the Pacific, namely Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

Moscow Warns of Finland and Sweden Joining NATO

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova vowed that Russia's response to Finland's decision to join NATO would be surprising. Zakharova noted in her weekly briefing from Moscow that the response would take the form of military measures and be initially left to the Russian military. While former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned that "the status of the Baltic Sea as a nuclear-weapon-free zone will not be discussed if Finland and Sweden join NATO."

Misbar's team confirms that the circulating claim is false based on their findings. France did not threaten Russia, but instead stated and affirmed their commitment and solidarity with Sweden and Finland in the event that their sovereignty was violated.

Translated by Dina Faisal

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