Russia Takes Finland’s NATO Membership as Threat, Requiring Reaction – Foreign Ministry Says

Today, on May 12, Finland expressed an open intention to apply for NATO membership, which was stated in a joint statement by the country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin. Russia gave an immediate reaction, confirming its initial concern about the issue. 

"During this spring, an important discussion on Finland's possible NATO membership has taken place. Time has been needed to let Parliament and the whole society establish their stands on the matter. Time has been needed for close international contacts with NATO and its member countries, as well as with Sweden. We have wanted to give the discussion the space it required.

Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties. NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.

Sauli Niinistö
President of the Republic of Finland

Sanna Marin
Prime Minister of Finland"

Today, Reuters reported that NATO is going to accept Finland and Sweden into the alliance as soon as possible. It was clarified that Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership can be approved at the upcoming alliance summit, which will be held on June 28-30 in Madrid.

Finland’s decision to apply for NATO membership is taken by Russia as a threat, according to the presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Of course [this is a threat],” Peskov said, answering the relevant question.

Moscow’s further actions will depend on how the “expansion process” will be going and how the military infrastructure will move. Peskov also recalled that there is a current presidential order to strengthen the “western flank”.

“A variety of options are always considered and analyzed. We have repeatedly said that the expansion of NATO and the approximation of the alliance’s infrastructure to our borders does not make the world and the European continent safer,” he explained.

Peskov has already warned before that Russia is closely watching anything that can affect NATO’s configuration on its borders. This was said in response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visiting Sweden and Finland on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

Previously, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, expressed confidence in the fact that Finland’s entry into NATO will not strengthen the country’s security, but provoke the Russian military to consider “all necessary measures.”

Update: Russian Foreign Ministry gave an official statement on the issue. 

"The statement of the President of Finland S. Niinisto and the Prime Minister of Finland S. Marin, who spoke today in favor of Finland's accession to NATO, is a radical change in the country's foreign policy course.

For decades, the policy of military non-alignment has served as the basis for stability in the Northern European region, provided a reliable level of security for the Finnish state, and was a solid foundation for building mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership relations between our countries, in which the role of the military factor was reduced to zero.

Neither Russia's assurances about the absence of any hostile intentions towards Finland, nor the long history of good-neighborly and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries, have convinced Helsinki of the advantages of maintaining a course of military non-alignment.

The goal of NATO, whose member countries aggressively convinced the Finnish side that there was no alternative to membership in the alliance, is clear - to continue expanding to the borders of Russia, to create another flank for a military threat to our country. But why should Finland turn its territory into a frontier of military confrontation with the Russian Federation, while losing independence in making its own decisions, history will judge.

The Russian side has repeatedly noted that the choice of ways to ensure its national security is up to the authorities and the people of Finland. However, Helsinki should be aware of the responsibility and consequences of such a step. Finland's accession to NATO will cause serious damage to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations, maintaining stability and security in the Northern European region. Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security arising in this regard.

Joining NATO will also be a direct violation of Finland's international legal obligations, first of all, the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, which provides for the obligation of the parties not to enter into alliances or participate in coalitions directed against one of them, as well as the 1992 Treaty between Russia and Finland on the basis of relations, which established that the parties will refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of the other party, will not use or allow the use of their territory for armed aggression against the other party. However, given the current indifference of the collective West to international law, such behavior has become the norm.

We will react according to the situation."

Ru-Main, 12.05.2022



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