What Vladimir Putin wanted to avoid is materialized after the invasion of Ukraine: NATO extends its borders. Hours before Finland’s entry into the Atlantic defense alliance, Russia announced that it will respond by strengthening its military potential on its western and northwestern border.
“Part of the measures have already been announced. We will strengthen our military potential on the western and northwestern borders”, said the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexandr Grushkó, in statements to the agency RIA Novosti.
Grushkó added that “In the event that forces and assets from other NATO countries are stationed in Finland, we will take additional steps to ensure Russia’s military security”.
For his part, the Kremlin condemned Finland’s entry and said it represented “the latest aggravation of the situation.”
“NATO expansion is an assault on our security and Russia’s national interests”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the press.
“The Kremlin believes that This is the latest aggravation of the situation”, stated Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “AND this forces us to take countermeasures… in tactical and strategic terms”.
NATO will welcome Finland as the 31st formal member of the Alliance, once its accession process is complete, with a ceremony on the same day that allied foreign ministers meet at the organization’s headquarters.
With the entry of Finland, a direct consequence of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, NATO adds 1,300 kilometers of direct border with Russia.
Finland will contribute to NATO a contingent of 280,000 soldiers and one of the largest artillery arsenals in Europe. This Tuesday Finland will have its flag on the esplanade of the NATO headquarters in Brussels, concretizing its integration process into the transatlantic institution.
Although Moscow has tried to play down the importance of the decision taken by Finland and Sweden to join NATO, it has expressed its dissatisfaction on several occasions and has warned that it will take measures depending on the situation.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putinpointed out that Russia has “no concerns or territorial claims” with these countries, which asked to join the Atlantic Alliance after the start of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.
“There is nothing that can worry us regarding the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO. If that’s what you want, then go ahead.”, added the Russian president, who, however, did not rule out “certain tensions” if these countries “create threats”.
(With information from EFE and AFP)
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