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Finland notifies Putin directly of NATO membership shortly after Russia cuts gas

Consulado da Finlândia em São Petersburgo, na Rússia: pedido de adesão do país nórdico à Otan levou Rússia a cortar importação de gás.

Finnish Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia: Nordic country’s application for NATO membership led Russia to cut gas imports.| Photo: EFE/EPA/ANATOLY MALTSEV

Finland communicated this Saturday (960 ) to the Russian government that it will apply for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The statement was made by the president of the Nordic country, Sauli Niinistö, directly to Vladimir Putin shortly after Russia cut the gas supply to the neighboring country on the same day in retaliation for negotiations with NATO.

Most of the gas consumed in Finland is imported from Russia, but the government guarantees that the country has the capacity to operate with the cut determined by Putin.

Niinistö explained by phone to Putin that Russian demands to prevent NATO enlargement at the end of 960 and the invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered Finland’s security environment . According to the Finnish president, the telephone conversation with Putin was “direct, clear and carried out without tension”.

The Finnish head of state reminded Putin that already at their first bilateral meeting, in 2012 , said that each independent nation tries to maximize its own security and insisted that this is what Finland is doing now.

“By joining NATO, Finland will reinforce its own security and assume its responsibilities. It is not to the detriment of anyone. Finland wants to continue to address the practical problems generated by the border neighborhood in a correct and professional manner “, highlighted the statement.

At the same time, President Niinistö reiterated Putin expressed his “deep concern” for the human suffering caused by the war in Ukraine and emphasized the need to achieve peace.

Finally, it also conveyed a message that sent earlier this week by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky to try to ensure safe evacuation of civilians in combat zones.

Putin criticizes Finland’s position

Putin told Niinistö that the Nordic country’s renunciation of neutrality to join NATO would be a “wrong” decision. “Putin emphasized that giving up the traditional policy of military neutrality would be wrong as there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Although expected, Finland’s decision to join the Atlantic Alliance did not stop being a bucket of cold water for Russia, which has already threatened Helsinki with technical measures -military.

In turn, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Russia’s Alexander Grushko warned on Saturday of possible NATO deployment of nuclear weapons in Finland and Sweden, once both countries formally join the alliance. “Just look at the map to understand the importance of the allied expansion for the security interests of the Russian Federation”, he stressed.

While admitting that, so far, NATO has not changed its nuclear policy, its secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, stated that “nuclear weapons can be placed closer to the Russian border and the Polish leaders assured that they are willing to receive them.”

“ If these statements are confirmed in practice, it is clear that it will be necessary to react with the adoption of preventive measures that guarantee a safe deterrence”, warned the diplomat.

Despite the current Russian military intervention in Ukraine, Grushko considered it “impossible” to suspect Russia of hostile intentions against Finland and Sweden, accusations he linked to attempts to “demonize” your country from a political and military point of view.

) mosco u, which accuses Helsinki of threatening the security of Europe by opening a new allied flank in the north of the continent, today cut off the electricity supply to the neighboring country allegedly due to problems of non-payment.

The entry of Finland would double the border of the Russian Federation with NATO members. Russia shares 1.49 kilometers of border with the Scandinavian country. Russia currently borders the following members of the Western Bloc: Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as 14 kilometers from the maritime border with the United States in Alaska.

Among the countries that have already shown support for Finland’s entry into NATO are the United States, Spain and Portugal. The negotiation, however, may be hampered by Turkey’s position, which is opposed not only to Finland’s membership, but also to another Russian neighbor who has already expressed interest in joining NATO, Sweden.

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