Russia threatens retaliation as Finland prepares to join NATO
Russian officials on May 12 threatened to take action if Finland is successful in its bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Finland joining NATO will seriously harm bilateral Russian-Finnish relations and the maintenance of stability and security in the North European region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to state-run media.
“Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps both of military-technical and of other nature in order to stop the threats to its national security that emerge as a result,” the ministry added.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Russian leaders were developing ways “to strengthen our western flanks in connection with the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank.”
“NATO is moving in our direction, so, of course, all this will become elements for a special analysis and development of necessary measures, in order to balance the situation and ensure our safety,” he said.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin earlier Thursday said that Finland “must apply for NATO membership without delay.”
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security,” they said.
Finland, one of the few European countries that is not part of NATO, renewed talks of joining the alliance after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The invasion changed the debate on the issue, Marin said shortly after the war started.