Finland’s president calls Putin to explain his plans to join NATO
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today by phone to explain Helsinki’s plans to join NATO, the Interfax news agency quoted Bloomberg as saying.
The call and the explanations come after Russia announced that Finland’s entry into NATO represents a threat to which it will respond, without specifying how.
The Kremlin has warned about the possible deployment by NATO of nuclear weapons in Finland and Sweden, once both countries eventually and formally join the Atlantic Alliance.
“A lot of questions arise about the renunciation of nuclear status by these countries,” Alexandr Grushkó, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, told reporters.
He stressed that the allied enlargement also raises doubts about “negative nuclear guarantees” for both Scandinavian countries, which hope to join the Western bloc at the allied summit in June in Madrid.
“It is enough to look at the map to understand how important the Allied enlargement is for the security interests of the Russian Federation,” he stressed.
He admitted that, for the time being, the Atlantic Alliance has not modified its nuclear policy, but its secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has affirmed that “nuclear weapons can be placed closer to the Russian border and the Polish leaders assured that they are willing to receive them.”
“If these declarations are confirmed in practice, of course, it will be necessary to react with the adoption of preventive measures that guarantee a safe dissuasion,” warned the diplomat.
Moscow would react not only to the deployment of US nuclear weapons, but also to the creation of the necessary infrastructure for their use.
“The entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO is a strategic change. This change cannot go without a political reaction and also without a careful analysis of the consequences of the new configuration of forces that may be formed as a result of the new expansion of the alliance,” he said.
Of course, he insisted that “all the factors” that influence security in the region will be analyzed and clarified that the corresponding decisions will not be rushed.
Despite the current Russian military intervention in Ukraine, he considered it “impossible” to suspect hostile intentions on the part of Russia against Finland and Sweden, accusations that he related to attempts to “demonize” Russia from the political and military point of view.
“We can imagine how events will unfold. When the entry is formalized, the NATO countries will immediately announce that the northern flank is very vulnerable, that the border with Russia has been increased by 1,300 kilometers and that this border must be defended, it must be deploy an additional contingent there,” he said.
“Technical-military” measures and power cuts
In addition, he was convinced that Finnish accession will not strengthen the military security of NATO or that of the neighboring country, which has always maintained a privileged relationship with the Kremlin since Soviet times.
“It is very obvious to anyone with common sense that the result will be quite the opposite, Finland’s military security will be considerably weakened,” he said.
Nor did he rule out a “militarization” of the Arctic -Norway has been a member of NATO since its foundation in 1949-, when Moscow defends that the military component in that region should be “minimal”.
As soon as Helsinki announced its plans to imminently join NATO, Moscow warned that it would adopt “technical-military” measures, since this decision threatens the security of Europe by opening a new allied flank in the north of the continent.
Moscow announced on Friday that as of today it will cut off the supply of electricity to the neighboring country, supposedly due to non-payment problems.
Finnish entry would double the border of the Russian Federation with the Atlantic Alliance, since Russia shares 1,300 kilometers of border with the Scandinavian country.
Russia now has a border with the following members of the Western bloc: Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition to a 49-kilometre maritime border with the United States.