Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday warned his Finnish counterpart that relations between the two neighbors could be “negatively affected” if Finland plans to apply for NATO membership.
The Kremlin’s press service said in a statement that Putin had told Sauli Ninistিস্ত that Finland’s “abandonment of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security.”
The statement added, “Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which for many years have been built on the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership and are mutually beneficial.”
Ninisto told Putin in a phone conversation that the military-neutral Nordic country, which has a complex history with a large eastern neighbor, “would decide in the coming days to apply for NATO membership.”
Ninistিস্ত’s office said in a statement that Finnish President Putin had been told how much Finland’s security environment had changed since Moscow’s February 24 attack on Ukraine, and that Finland’s 30 member states had indicated Russia’s demand to refrain from seeking membership in the Western military alliance. .
“The talks (with Putin) were straightforward and unequivocal and were held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” said Ninisto, president of Finland since 2012 and one of the handful of Western leaders who have been in regular dialogue with Putin in the past. Decade
Ninisto noted that he had already told Putin at their first meeting in 2012 that “every independent nation will maximize its own security.”
“This is still the case. By joining NATO, Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities. This is not far from anyone,” Ninisto said.
Ninisto stressed that Finland, despite its potential future membership in NATO, wants to continue to deal with Russia bilaterally with “real problems caused by its border neighbors” and hopes to engage with Moscow “in a professional manner”.
According to a Kremlin statement, the two leaders also discussed Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the possibility of finding a political solution to the situation. Putin said talks between Moscow and Kiev had been suspended because of Ukraine’s “lack of interest in serious and constructive talks.”
The phone call was initiated by Finland, the Ninestor office said.
Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border with Russia, the longest among the members of the European Union.
Ninistিস্ত and Finnish Prime Minister Sanaa Marin on Thursday jointly endorsed Finland’s NATO bid, recommending that the country “apply for NATO membership without delay” to ensure the country’s security in Ukraine amid Russia’s military strategy and Europe’s changing geopolitical and security landscape.
An official announcement is expected from Finland’s intention to join NATO on Sunday. The Mariners’ ruling Social Democratic Party approved a membership bid Saturday, paving the way for a parliamentary vote next week to support the move. It is expected to pass with overwhelming support. An official membership application will then be submitted to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
Neighboring Sweden is set to decide on its NATO position on Sunday at a meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson.
U.S. President Joe Biden made a joint call with both Ninistো and Anderson on Friday, in which, according to a White House statement, he stressed “NATO’s open door policy and its support for Finland and Sweden’s own future, foreign policy and decision-making power.” . ”