(Update 1: re-ledes, changes headline)
Moscow, May 12 (EFE).- Russia warned on Thursday it would take military action if Finland joined Nato after the Scandinavian country said it was in favor of joining the military alliance.
“Russia will be forced to take military-technical and other responsive measures in order to counter the threats that have emerged to its national security,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It also said that the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine and Nato exercises next to its borders increased the likelihood of a direct conflict and full-scale nuclear war.
“The supply of weapons by Nato members to Ukraine, the training of its troops to use Western equipment, the sending of mercenaries and exercises by the Alliance near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia,” deputy chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said.
“Such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war,” he added.
Russia’s warning came after Finland said on Thursday that it was in favor of applying to join the Nato alliance in a historic move that marks a huge geopolitical change.
“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,” Finnish president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement.
Finland, which shares a border with Russia, has often cooperated with Nato since its founding in 1949 but has maintained military neutrality.
“Nato membership would strengthen Finland’s security,” the two leaders said, adding that “as a member (…), Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, public support for joining Nato has risen by 14% with 76% of people in favor, according to the latest public opinion poll. EFE