Russia threatens retaliation as Finland prepares to join NATO


Russian officials on May 12 threatened to take action if Finland succeeded in joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“Finland’s accession to NATO will seriously hurt the bilateral relations between Russia and Finland and the stability and security of the Nordic region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to state media. “.

“Russia will be forced to take retaliation measures of both military technology and other qualities to thwart the resulting threat to national security,” the ministry added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Russian leaders are developing ways to “strengthen our western side in connection with strengthening the eastern side of NATO.” Told.

“Because NATO is moving in our direction, of course, all of this will be a special analysis and development element of the necessary steps to balance the situation and ensure our security.” He said.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinist√∂ and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Thursday that Finland “must apply for NATO membership without delay.”

“NATO accession will strengthen Finland’s security,” they said.

Epoch Times Photo
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö speaks to reporters in Helsinki, Finland, on May 11, 2022. (Pool via Frank Augustine / Reuters)

Finland, one of the few European countries that is not a member of NATO, has resumed negotiations to join the alliance after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

The aggression changed the debate on this issue, Marin said shortly after the war began.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told the European Parliament Thursday that public support for NATO membership has skyrocketed, as shown in the “widespread polling”.

“If Finland decides to apply, Finland’s accession will enhance the security and stability of the Baltic region and Northern Europe,” he said. “Finland is a regional security provider and will further strengthen NATO as a future ally. From a NATO perspective, Finland meets NATO’s accession criteria and is a strong and reliable defense interoperable with NATO. Holds a solid democratic credential with. “

Finland can deploy an army of about 280,000, has a reserve of about 900,000, and has troops, including high-end fighters, officials said.

NATO members pledge that an attack on one member is an attack on all members.

Ukraine is not an ally and no other country has directly participated in the war to support the country. However, many have sent military aid, including weapons.

Sweden, another country considering joining NATO, is expected to reach a decision soon.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers US and world news. He is based in Maryland.