Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to Finland following its decision to join NATO. Despite previous peaceful relations, Putin emphasized that Helsinki would now face challenges with Moscow. In response to Finland’s NATO accession, Putin unveiled Russia’s countermeasure, which involves establishing a new military district to strengthen positions near Finland. The proposed force will be stationed in the Leningrad region, situated in the northwestern part of Russia.
A spokesperson for Russia denied any territorial disputes with NATO member states and dismissed the idea that Finland was coerced into joining NATO. Emphasizing that past disputes had been resolved, the spokesperson labeled the creation of the Leningrad military district as unnecessary and nonsensical.
Finland’s departure from its long-held neutrality became evident with its application for NATO membership, a move prompted by Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022. Despite multiple warnings from Russia to abstain from joining NATO, Finland officially became a full-fledged member in April 2023.
Since joining NATO, tensions between Russia and Finland have escalated, marked by Helsinki’s announcement of a significant defense pact with the U.S. This agreement grants U.S. military access to 15 military bases in Finland near the Russian border. Additionally, Finland closed its border entry and exit points with Russia until January 14, 2024, accusing Moscow of engaging in a “Hybrid War” by facilitating the influx of asylum seekers.
As the situation unfolds, the nearly 1300-kilometer-long border between NATO member Finland and Russia remains a focal point, and the future developments in this geopolitical scenario are eagerly awaited.