Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova recently issued a stern warning to Sweden and Finland if both nations continue with their intention to join NATO, saying the moves would have “serious military-political repercussions.”
Zakharova made the comments at a press briefing, continuing, “Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences.”
Later, the Russian foreign ministry made the same threat on Twitter, saying, “We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe. Finland’s accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions.”
Finnish Ambassador to the United States, Mikko Hautala, said that Russia has consistently voiced its opposition to Finland becoming a member of NATO. “I think we are really well prepared. We have one of the best armies in Europe. We have a really strong defense. We have really good international partners. We are not in a position that we would get scared because of one statement. There’s nothing new. That’s the old Russian position,” said Hautala. “They’ve been telling that for many, many years.”
Hautala also responded via Twitter, saying, “Partnership with the alliance is very important for us. While maintaining a strong national defense, we retain the opportunity to apply for membership. It is the sovereign right of each nation to make decisions on its security policy.”
Ukraine’s leaders have also expressed the desire to join NATO; however, Russia has long expressed fierce opposition to expanding the 30-member alliance to include Ukraine, which shares a border with Russia. The coalition has not engaged in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Ukraine puts up a fierce fight against Russian invasion
As Russian forces continue to storm across Ukraine, aiming to topple the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, intelligence experts say that Ukrainians are putting up a formidable resistance. To help its citizens defend the country, the government has handed out arms to citizens.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General, said the alliance would defend its member states if attacked by Russia. Stoltenberg said that NATO had deployed its Response Force for collective security after threats to the coalition from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin told NATO to withdraw its forces from member nations or face the consequences.
“This goes far beyond Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg. “This is about how Russia is actually challenging, contesting core values for our security. Then warning that NATO should withdraw all forces and infrastructure from almost half of our members.”
President Joe Biden has said the U.S. could get involved if Russian troops move into NATO countries. Speaking of Putin, Biden stated, “If he did move into NATO countries, we will be involved. We will be involved.”