During a recent press briefing, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued a warning to Sweden, Finland, and other countries hoping to join NATO that that move will have “serious military-political repercussions.”
Zakharova made her remarks as Russian forces continued to battle the Ukrainian military following an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“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.”
“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,” read the ministry’s follow-up Tweet. “Finland’s accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions.”
According to Finnish Ambassador to the United States, Mikko Hautala, Russia has consistently voiced opposition to his nation’s NATO membership.
“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.”
Hautala continued, “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 where we could get scared because of one statement. There’s nothing new. That’s the old Russian position.”
He added, “They’ve been telling that for many, many years.”
Ukraine also wants to join NATO
Ukrainian leaders have also expressed Ukraine’s desire to join NATO. However, Russia has expressed its fierce opposition to expanding the 30-member alliance, with Ukraine sharing a border with it.
Russian forces are closing in on major Ukrainian cities, including the capital of Kyiv. The government has been handing out arms to citizens to defend the country.
Recently, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance would vigorously defend its member states if attacked by a Putin-ordered Russian attack.
Stoltenberg said NATO deployed a collective security Response Force after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened NATO and told it to withdraw forces from member nations or face retaliation and consequences.
According to Secretary-General 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.” Stoltenberg continued, speaking of Putin, “If he did move into NATO countries, we will be involved. We will be involved.”
NATO has not sent any troops to defend Ukraine and has not engaged in any conflict. President Biden’s said the United States could get involved in any Russian forces move into any of the 30 NATO countries.