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Finland, Sweden joining NATO serious mistake, will have consequences, says Russia

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said Monday that ‘general level of military tension would increase in the area, there would be less predictability’.

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New Delhi: The recent decision by Finland and Sweden to join the US-led military alliance NATO would be a “serious mistake” with “far-reaching consequences”, Russia warned Monday.

According to state news agency TASS, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: “They should not have any illusions that we will simply put up with this.”

The two Nordic countries abandoned their decades-long military neutrality and confirmed over the weekend that they wanted to join NATO – the expansion that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to prevent.

The two countries’ leaders steamrolled any internal opposition to join the western military alliance and are now set to present their proposals to Parliament.

“A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region. We gain security, and we also share it,” Finland President Sauli Niniisto said Sunday. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometre border with Russia.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said: “The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people is to join NATO.”

Russia’s Ryabkov responded Monday: “The fact that the security of Sweden, like that of Finland for that matter, will not be strengthened as a result of this decision, is completely obvious to us. The general level of military tension will increase, and there will be less predictability in this area. It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed to some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation.”

“This will be another gross mistake with far-reaching consequences. But then, alas, that’s the sanity level of those who are making political decisions in corresponding countries,” he said.

While non-alignment has been the favoured policy in Finland and Sweden for decades, public sentiment in the two countries is now for NATO membership – 75 per cent in Finland and between 50 and 60 per cent in Sweden.

Meanwhile, Putin has already warned Finland that relations between the two countries would be negatively affected if it joined NATO.

The Kremlin said Saturday that Finland abandoning its “traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finland’s security”.

NATO Foreign Ministers met in Berlin Sunday to discuss the possible membership of Finland and Sweden.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Sweden and Finland were NATO’s closest partners and if they decided to apply for membership, it would be “historic”.

“Their membership in NATO would increase our shared security, demonstrate that NATO’s door is open and that aggression does not pay,” Stoltenberg said, reiterating that all sovereign nations have the right to choose their own path.

Also read: Blinken discusses Ukraine, Iran nuclear deal with German, French, UK counterparts


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