Finland and Sweden are well on their way to NATO. Russia strongly dislikes it.
Updated less than 10 minutes ago
“Finnish NATO membership is definitely a threat to Russia,” said a statement from Vlatimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday morning.
Peskov also claims that a NATO enlargement will not make the world or Europe safer.
He further said that Finland had joined the “unfriendly steps towards Russia” taken by the EU and threatened with what he calls a symmetrical response to this. Exactly what it should be he gave no details about.
“It all depends on how this expansion unfolds, and to what extent military infrastructure is moved closer to our border,” Peskov said.
According to him, everyone wants to avoid a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Finland’s desire to join NATO is a radical change in its foreign policy, according to Reuters. At the same time, he claims that NATO aims to continue to expand towards Russia’s borders, in order to create a new “flank for military threats” against Russia.
He also repeats Peskov’s message that Russia will have to retaliate – both militarily and in other ways.
Stoltenbeg promises fast process
On Thursday, it became clear that The President and Prime Minister of Finland recommend applying for membership in the Defense Alliance. Something Norway’s Prime Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, mentions as one «Historic decision».
Also in Sweden, it is likely that this will happen soon.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that he welcomes Finnish membership, and believes it will strengthen both NATO and Finland’s security. He promises that the accession process will happen quickly.
– Finnish membership will show that NATO’s door is open, and that Finland decides its own future, he says.