Russia has warned of “serious military and political repercussions” if Finland joins NATO amid the Ukraine crisis.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the country’s accession to NATO, the military alliance currently made up of 28 European countries plus the US and Canada, could “have detrimental consequences”.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week, Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin said the debate surrounding Finland’s membership of NATO “will change”.
Asked about this on Friday, Zakharova began with a veiled warning.
In translated remarks at a press conference, she said: “The Finnish government’s policy of military non-alliance is an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe.
“At the same time, we cannot help but note the targeted efforts of NATO and other members of this alliance to involve Finland as well as Sweden [a fellow non-member] in this alliance.”
She said “the intensity of practical interaction between Helsinki and Stockholm with NATO” is “nothing new”.
She claimed “they have conducted NATO’s military exercises – these countries have provided territory for such manoeuvres of this military alliance.