Putin warns Finland NATO membership would hurt relations

Putin warns Finland NATO membership would hurt relations

HELSINKI (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Saturday that relations between the 2 neighbors might be “negatively affected” if Finland follows via with plans to use for NATO membership.

The Kremlin’s press service stated in an announcement that Putin informed Sauli Niinisto Finland’s abandonment “of its conventional coverage of navy neutrality could be an error since there are not any threats to Finland’s safety.”

“Such a change within the nation’s overseas coverage may negatively have an effect on Russian-Finnish relations, which had been constructed within the spirit of fine neighborliness and partnership for a few years, and have been mutually useful,” the assertion added.

The response got here after Niinisto informed Putin in a cellphone dialog that the militarily non-aligned Nordic nation, which has a posh historical past with its enormous japanese neighbor, “will resolve to use for NATO membership within the coming days.”

Niinisto’s workplace stated in an announcement that the Finnish head of state informed Putin how starkly Finland’s safety atmosphere had modified after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, and pointed to Russia’s calls for for Finland to chorus from searching for membership of the 30-nation Western navy alliance.

“The dialogue (with Putin) was simple and unambiguous and was held with out exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was thought of necessary,” stated Niinisto, Finland’s president since 2012 and one in every of a handful of Western leaders who has been in common dialogue with Putin over the previous decade.

Niinisto identified that he had already informed Putin at their first assembly in 2012 that “every impartial nation would maximize its personal safety.”

“That’s nonetheless the case. By becoming a member of NATO, Finland will strengthen its personal safety and assume its duties,” Niinisto stated.

Niinisto careworn that Finland, regardless of its probably future membership in NATO, needs to proceed to take care of Russia bilaterally in “sensible points generated by the border neighborhood” and hopes to interact with Moscow “in an expert method.”

In keeping with the Kremlin assertion, the 2 leaders additionally mentioned Russia’s “navy operation” in Ukraine, and the potential for attaining a political resolution. Putin stated negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv had been suspended because of Ukraine’s “lack of curiosity in a critical and constructive dialogue.”

The cellphone name was performed on Finland’s initiative, Niinisto’s workplace stated.

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

Niinisto and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday collectively endorsed their nation’s NATO bid and advisable that Finland “should apply for NATO membership immediately” to ensure its safety.

A proper announcement from Niinisto and Marin of Finland’s intention to use for NATO membership is anticipated on Sunday. Marin’s governing Social Democratic Social gathering authorized the membership bid on Saturday, paving manner for a parliamentary vote subsequent week to endorse the transfer. It’s anticipated to cross with overwhelming help. A proper membership software would then be submitted to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Neighboring Sweden is about to resolve on its NATO stance on Sunday at a gathering of the governing Social Democratic Social gathering led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

One attainable hurdle to Finland and Sweden becoming a member of the alliance got here from NATO member Turkey, whose president stated Friday he was “not favorable” to the thought.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited help in Sweden and different Scandinavian nations for Kurdish militants — whom Turkey considers to be terrorists.

Finland’s Overseas Minister Pekka Haavisto stated Saturday that he had already known as his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, “to take the tensions down.”

“I’m certain that we are going to discover a resolution to this merchandise as properly,” he informed reporters at first of a casual NATO overseas ministers’ assembly in Berlin late Saturday.

U.S. President Joe Biden held a joint name Friday with each Niinisto and Andersson the place, in accordance with a White Home assertion, he “underscored his help for NATO’s Open Door coverage and for the best of Finland and Sweden to resolve their very own future, overseas coverage and safety preparations.”


Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.


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