Putin warns Finland NATO membership would harm relations

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Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Saturday relations betwixt the 2 neighbors could beryllium "negatively affected" if Finland follows done with plans to use for NATO membership.

The Kremlin's property work said successful a connection that Putin told Sauli Niinisto that Finland's abandonment "of its accepted argumentation of subject neutrality would beryllium an mistake since determination are nary threats to Finland's security."

"Such a alteration successful the country's overseas argumentation could negatively impact Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built successful the tone of bully neighborliness and concern for galore years, and were mutually beneficial," the connection added.

Russia Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a gathering of the Board of Trustees of the Talent and Success Educational Foundation via videoconference astatine the Sirius Educational Center for Gifted Children successful Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, May 11, 2022. Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The effect came aft Niinisto told Putin successful a telephone speech that the militarily non-aligned Nordic state that has a analyzable past with its immense eastbound neighbour "will determine to use for NATO rank successful the coming days."

Niinisto's bureau said successful a connection that the Finnish caput of authorities told Putin however starkly Finland's information situation had changed aft Moscow's February 24 penetration connected Ukraine, and pointed to Russia's demands connected Finland refraining from seeking rank to the 30 member-state Western subject alliance.

"The treatment (with Putin) was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important," said Niinisto, Finland's president since 2012 and 1 of a fistful of Western leaders who has been successful regular dialog with Putin implicit the past decade.

Niinisto pointed retired that helium had already told Putin astatine their archetypal gathering successful 2012 that "each autarkic federation would maximize its ain security."

"That is inactive the case. By joining NATO, Finland volition fortify its ain information and presume its responsibilities. It is not thing distant from anybody," Niinisto said.

Finland calls for NATO membership; Sweden whitethorn soon follow 05:34

Niinisto stressed that Finland, contempt its apt aboriginal rank successful NATO, wants to proceed to woody with Russia bilaterally successful "practical issues generated by the borderline neighborhood" and hopes to prosecute with Moscow "in a nonrecreational manner."

According to the Kremlin statement, the 2 leaders besides discussed Russia's subject cognition successful Ukraine, and the anticipation of achieving a governmental solution to the situation. Putin said negotiations betwixt Moscow and Kyiv had been suspended owed to Ukraine's "lack of involvement successful a superior and constructive dialogue."

The telephone telephone was conducted connected Finland's initiative, Niinisto's bureau said.

Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) borderline with Russia, the longest by immoderate European Union member.

Niinisto and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin connected Thursday jointly endorsed Finland's NATO bid and recommended that the state "must use for NATO rank without delay" to warrant the nation's information amid Russia's subject maneuvers successful Ukraine and Europe's changed geopolitical and information landscape.

A ceremonial announcement from Niinisto and Marin of Finland's volition to use for NATO rank is expected connected Sunday. Marin's governing Social Democratic Party approved the rank bid connected Saturday, paving mode for a parliamentary ballot adjacent week to endorse the move. It's expected to walk with overwhelming support. A ceremonial rank exertion would past beryllium submitted to NATO office successful Brussels.

Neighboring Sweden is acceptable to determine connected its NATO stance connected Sunday successful a gathering of the governing Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

U.S. President Joe Biden held a associated telephone Friday with some Niinisto and Andersson where, according to a White House statement, helium "underscored his enactment for NATO's Open Door argumentation and for the close of Finland and Sweden to determine their ain future, overseas argumentation and information arrangements."

In: Finland Ukraine Russia Vladimir Putin NATO