Ukraine war: Putin warns Finland joining Nato would be ‘mistake’
President Vladimir Putin of Russia has warned Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila that joining Nato and abandoning its neutral status would be a “mistake.”
He assured Sauli Niinistö that Finland’s security was unaffected. The conversation took place during a phone call by Finland’s president, ahead of a formal request that Finland is expected to make soon.
Finland and Russia share a 1,300-kilometer (810-mile) border. To avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour, it has stayed out of Nato until now. Mr Putin did not directly threaten retaliation in response to Finland’s move, but the Russian foreign ministry has indicated that retaliation will occur.
However, Russia’s decision to halt electricity supplies to Finland is being interpreted as a precursor. RAO Nordic, a Russian energy supplier, mentioned payment issues in its statement.
Reima Paivinen, the head of Finland’s national grid, told the BBC that the Russian suspension had caused no problems.
He claimed that Russian imports made up about 10% of the country’s supply, but that they could be replaced with alternative sources.
The Kremlin said after Mr Niinistö’s phone call with Mr Putin on Saturday that the Russian leader had stressed that “ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security.” “Such a shift in the country’s political orientation could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations, which have been built over many years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and cooperation between partners,” it continued.
Mr Niinistö said he told Mr Putin about how Russia’s recent actions, combined with the invasion of Ukraine, “have changed the security environment of Finland.”
“The conversation was direct and to-the-point, and it was carried out without a hitch. The importance of avoiding tensions was emphasised “he said.
Turkey could be a stumbling block to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused both countries of harbouring “terrorist organisations” and said he did not support their membership applications.
It was interpreted as a reference to the PKK, which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organisation. The PKK has been fighting Turkey for a Kurdish homeland for decades.
In 1949, Nato, a Western military alliance, was formed in part to counter the Soviet Union’s threat.
One of the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine, according to President Putin, is Ukraine’s desire to join the alliance.
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