Putin Warns of Problems with Finland Over NATO Membership, Announces New Military District

Sun Dec 17 2023
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MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concerns and issued a warning of potential “problems” with Finland following the country’s decision to join NATO earlier this year.

In response to Finland’s NATO accession, Moscow declared its intention to create a new military district in north-west Russia. The move comes as Finland, sharing a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia, became a NATO member in April amid the backdrop of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

Putin criticized the West for involving Finland in NATO, pointing out that past disputes, including those related to territorial matters from the mid-20th century, had already been resolved. Despite this, he asserted that the situation would change as Russia plans to establish the Leningrad military district and concentrate specific military units in the region.

These remarks follow Finland’s recent decision to temporarily close its border with Russia, accusing Moscow of orchestrating a migrant crisis along the shared border. Russia had previously warned of counter-measures in response to Finland’s NATO membership.

Emphasizing Russia’s stance, Putin clarified that the country had no intention of engaging in hostilities with NATO member states. He dismissed recent comments by US President Joe Biden suggesting that Moscow’s ambitions extend beyond Ukraine, characterizing such rhetoric as a justification for a misguided policy on Russia. Putin highlighted that Russia had no interest, whether geopolitical, economic, or military, in initiating conflict with NATO countries.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine as part of Russia’s campaign has raised concerns about potential Russian aggression in the eastern flank of NATO.

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