President Vladimir Putin of Russia has warned Finland against joining NATO, saying such move would be “a mistake”.
A statement from Kremlin quoted the Russian leader as stressing that “the end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland’s security.”
Russia has already cut off its ten percent electricity supply to Finland following its plan to join NATO.
President Sauli Niinisto, who has been in regular talks with President Putin in recent years, said the Nordic country and eurozone member “wants to take care of the practical questions arising from being a neighbour of Russia in a correct and professional manner.”
But Putin kicked against such move, saying “such a change in the country’s political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and cooperation between partners.”
Office of the Finnish President said that the phone call, which was “initiated by Finland … was direct and straightforward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 over the same political issues and this has swung political and public opinion in Finland and neighbouring Sweden, which have indicated interests in joining NATO.
However, despite Russia and Turkey’s position against Finland joining NATO, Germany has backed the move.
German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock on Saturday said she supports Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO, despite Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s criticism.
Erdoğan said on Friday he was not looking at Finland’s and Sweden’s moves to join NATO “positively,” accusing both counties of harbouring Kurdish “terrorist organizations.”