/Finland Says It Has Right to Join NATO Despite Russia Warning Finland of “serious military and political consequences”

Finland Says It Has Right to Join NATO Despite Russia Warning Finland of “serious military and political consequences”

Despite Russian demands to NATO a month earlier, which asked NATO to halt its expansion and reduce its influence over eastern Europe, Finland has retained the option of seeking NATO membership at any time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned against NATO’s “further movement eastward” and asked for security guarantees. The Russian Foreign Ministry has also warned against Finland joining NATO.

Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, the Director of the Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, stated, “It’s quite obvious that Finland and Sweden joining NATO … would have serious military and political consequences that would require an adequate response from the Russian side,”

she added, “The policy of not being part of any alliances, traditionally pursued by Stockholm and Helsinki, is viewed by Moscow as an important factor in ensuring stability in northern Europe,”

However, despite the warnings from Russia, both Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin addressed that Finland retained the option of joining NATO.

Niinisto said, “Let it be stated once again: Finland’s room to manoeuvre and freedom of choice also includes the possibility of military alignment and of applying for NATO membership, should we ourselves so decide,” while Prime Minister Marin stated that Finland will not let go of their “room for manoeuvre.”

In previous statements, President Niinisto also said. “The sovereignty of several member states, also Sweden and Finland, has been challenged from outside the Union. This makes the EU an involved party. The EU must not settle merely with the role of a technical coordinator of sanctions.”

However, although it is unlikely that Finland will join NATO soon, Finnish leaders have made it transparent that Finland is keeping NATO membership in consideration despite the threats from Russia.