Vladimir Putin appears determined to keep going out on a limb.
After invading Ukraine – and even hitting the ships of other nations including members of NATO, Romania and Turkey – he’s now threatening Finland and Sweden if they dare to join NATO.
Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova made the remarks as Russian forces continue to battle the Ukrainian military following an unprovoked invasion into the neighboring country.
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“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,” she said in a video clip.
The ministry later posted the same threat on Twitter.
“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,” the tweet reads. “Finland’s accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions.”
Russia has claimed the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO as one of its excuses for invading it, so that thought can’t sit well with Finland and Sweden. They have also told NATO to withdraw forces that NATO has deployed to some of its members. Fox reported that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said this went “far beyond Ukraine.”
“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 declared.
There are so many ways that this can get out of hand; we already saw that with Russians hitting the ships of multiple other nations besides Ukraine in the Black Sea. And while Finland and Sweden may not be NATO, they are EU countries. Threatening them and NATO countries is not going to go over well, and it’s going to make NATO countries want to put even more troops into play. Russia is almost pushing them into NATO’s hands with the threat because they know if they are not protected by being in NATO, that Russia might treat them like Ukraine.
Finland’s response was to tell Russia to go pound sand.
“Partnership with the alliance is very important for us. While maintaining a strong national defense, we retain the opportunity to apply for membership,” he wrote. “It is the sovereign right of each nation to make decisions on its security policy.”
Russia and Ukraine are sending delegations to Belarus to have talks, but in the meantime, Russia is hitting Kyiv tonight and the citizens have been armed by the government to resist them, in addition to the regular military response.