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NATO: joining Finland and Sweden would have consequences, warns Russia

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The Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Friday that NATO membership of Sweden and Finland would have consequences for these countries and European security. Helsinki and Stockholm are considering joining the Atlantic Alliance in response to the Russian military offensive against Ukraine.

NATO membership of Sweden and Finland would have consequences for these countries and European security, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Friday. These countries “must understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole,” ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. “Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen their national security. De facto, (Finland and Sweden) will be the first line of NATO”, she further indicated.

Russia threatens to strengthen its military means

Helsinki and Stockholm are considering joining the Atlantic Alliance in response to the Russian military offensive against Ukraine. Already on Thursday, the former Russian president and current number two of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev affirmed that if Finland or Sweden joined NATO, Russia would strengthen its military means, particularly nuclear ones, in the Baltic Sea and near Scandinavia.

Finland, which has some 1,300 km of border with Russia, will decide “within a few weeks” on a candidacy for NATO, according to its Prime Minister. Sweden does not rule out joining the Western military alliance either, but seems more in the background than its neighbour. Russia considers the Alliance to be an existential threat, and its offensive in Ukraine has been justified by the Kremlin in particular by kyiv’s Atlanticist ambitions and Western political and military support for this neighbor of Russia.

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