Putin tells Finland joining Nato, renouncing neutrality would be ‘wrong’
Moscow, May 14 (EFE).- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday warned Finland that joining Nato and renouncing its military neutrality would be a mistake.
Putin spoke to his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto over the telephone on Saturday after Finland said this week that it favored joining the alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, the Kremlin said: “Putin stressed that rejecting the traditional policy of military neutrality would be wrong since there are no threats to Finland’s security.”
“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy course could have a negative effect on Russia-Finland relations, which have been built over the course of many years in the spirit of neighborliness and partnership cooperation and have a mutually beneficial nature,” the statement added.
Before launching the “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, Putin had demanded that Nato put an end to its enlargement into Eastern Europe and withdraw military infrastructure from countries that joined the bloc after 1997.
The Kremlin said the conversation had been “frank” and had focused on Finland’s plans to apply for Nato membership, accession that could be formalized at the June allied summit in Madrid, as well as on the situation in Ukraine.
“Putin shared his opinion of the state of the negotiating process between Russian and Ukrainian representatives” which “has been practically put on hold by Kiev, which does not show any interest in a serious and constructive dialogue,” the official note said.
On Thursday, Russia warned that it would be “forced to take military-technical and other responsive measures” if Finland joins Nato, which Moscow would see as a threat to its national security.
Moscow, which accuses Helsinki of jeopardizing security in Europe by opening a new allied flank in the north of the continent, on Saturday cut off electricity supplies to Finland, allegedly because of non-payment issues.
Russia shares 1,300 kilometers of border with Finland, which would double the Russian Federation’s border with Nato members.
Russia currently shares borders with Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition to 49 kilometers of maritime border with the United States, all members of Nato. EFE