Foreign Minister Haavisto: Russian rhetoric about NATO "no surprise"

Foreign Minister Haavisto: Russian rhetoric about NATO "no surprise"

Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) has said that there is no need to panic about the threats coming from Russia related to Finland’s possible NATO membership.

He added that Russia’s position on Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO has been well known for a long time, and therefore the reaction is predictable and expected.

On Friday, a Russian official again warned the two Nordic countries "consequences" if they applied to NATO.

Marija ZaharovaA spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said accession would "implications for bilateral relations and the European Security Outlook."

Zaharova made a similar statement at the end of February, just after Russia invaded Ukraine. The rhetoric of the president Sauli Niinistö said it was at the time "nothing new".

Zaharova’s remarks on Friday follow similar remarks by the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday, when he said that Russia must strengthen its defense in the Baltic Sea region – including through nuclear weapons – if Finland and Sweden join NATO.

In an interview with Yle TV1’s evening news on Friday, Haavisto said that the war in Ukraine and the future security options for Finland and Sweden are two different things.

"It is not news that Russia is opposed to NATO enlargement, nor is it that Russia must take it into account when planning its own defense." he said.

Haavisto also told Yle that if Finland intends to submit a membership application, it will take place within the next six weeks. This reflects the Prime Minister’s comments Sanna Marin (SDP) visited Stockholm earlier this week to discuss with his Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson.

"I do not give any timetable [for] when we make our decisions. But I think it will happen pretty quickly. In weeks, not months," Marin said at the time.

Government: “Fundamental changes” in the security situation

The Finnish government published an updated security policy report on Wednesday, referring to the threat posed by Russia for the first time.

The historical publication did not take a clear position on whether or not Finland should join NATO, but explained the reasons for such a transfer and how the process could proceed.

The report outlined the benefits of joining NATO, including security guarantees for member states and increased cooperation that would act as a deterrent against possible attacks. It also presented the risks of accession, which were mainly related to Russia’s reaction to Finland’s possible accession initiatives.

The report also stated that inaction could limit Finland’s options in a rapidly changing and constantly changing geopolitical situation.

Haavisto: Security guarantees were discussed with key NATO members

The security policy report also stated that the most significant effect of possible NATO membership would be for Finland to be part of the alliance’s common defense strategy and within the framework of the security guarantees provided by the alliance.

This deterrent against possible attacks would therefore be considerably greater than Finland currently has, as the alliance would support its position.

The security report also warned that Finland must be prepared for the large and unforeseen effects and risks of submitting an application for membership. One example of this escalation would be the increase in tensions on the Finnish-Russian border.

If Finland decides to apply to NATO, it will take time to process the application. This has sparked a lot of public and political debate about whether Finland could get security guarantees during the application process.

Source: The Nordic Page

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