Helsinki: As Finland edges towards joining NATO, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his Finnish counterpart that the abandoning the country’s neutral status would be a “mistake”.
In a telephonic conversation on Saturday, Putin told Sauli Niinistö there was no threat to Finland’s security, BBC reported. Following Putin and Niinistö telephonic conversation, the Kremplin said that the Russian leader had emphasised the “end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland’s security.
“Such a change in the country’s political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and co-operation between partners.”
Finnish President informed Putin that the recent moves by Russia, along with the invasion of Ukraine, “have altered the security environment of Finland”.
He said, “The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important.”
Besides Finland, Sweden has expressed its intention to join NATO since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Putin has not made any specific threat over Finland’s move, the Russian Foreign Ministry has indicated of a retaliation.
According to BBC, Russia’s decision to suspended electricity supplies to Finland is being seen as an early sign. However, the Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic has cited problems with payments as reason.