KABUL (BNA Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Saturday that relations between the two neighbors could be “negatively affected” if Finland follows through with plans to apply for NATO membership.
‘Finland’s abandonment “of its traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finland’s security.” said Kremlin’s press service in a statement.
“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been assembled in the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership for many years, and were commonly valuable,” the statement added.
The response came after Niinisto told Putin in a phone conversation that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that has a complex history with its huge eastern neighbor “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days
Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finnish head of state told Putin how starkly Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and pointed to Russia’s demands on Finland refraining from seeking membership to the 30 member-state Western military alliance.
U.S. President Joe Biden held a joint call Friday with both Niinistö and Andersson where, according to a White House statement, he “underscored his support for NATO’s Open-Door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy, and security arrangements.”