MOSCOW, May 12. /TASS/. Russia will be forced to take tit-for-tat steps of military-technical nature to stop threats to its national security in response to Finland’s possible accession to NATO, according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry published on Thursday.
"The Russian side repeatedly noted that the choice of ways to ensure its national security is up to Finland’s authorities and people. However, Helsinki should realize the responsibility and the consequences of such a move," the statement stressed. "Finland joining NATO will seriously harm bilateral Russian-Finnish relations and the maintenance of stability and security in the North European region. Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps both of military-technical and of other nature in order to stop the threats to its national security that emerge as a result," the ministry noted.
According to a joint statement by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin published on Thursday, Finland should apply for NATO membership as soon as possible. The formal decision on the application is expected to be made on Sunday, May 15. The Russian Foreign Ministry branded these statements as the evidence of a radical shift in the country’s foreign policy.
The diplomatic agency noted that over decades, the policy of military non-alignment has served as the foundation of stability in the Northern European region, ensured Finland’s reliable security level and has been the firm basis for building mutually beneficial cooperation and partner relations between Moscow and Helsinki where the role of the military factor amounted to zero. "Neither Russia’s assurances of the absence of any hostile intentions towards Finland, nor the long history of good-neighborly and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries convinced Helsinki of the advantages to continue the course towards military non-alignment," the Foreign Ministry added.
The statement noted that NATO’s goal is clear: "to continue the expansion towards Russia’s borders, to create another flank for a military threat to Russia." "Yet history will decide why Finland should turn its territory into the frontier of a military standoff with the Russian Federation while losing its independence in making its own decisions," the agency noted.
"The accession to NATO will also become a direct violation of Finland’s international legal obligations, above all, the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty which provides for the obligation of its sides not to enter unions or participate in coalitions directed against one of them, as well as the 1992 Treaty on the Foundations of Relations between Russia and Finland which establishes that the sides will refrain from the threat of force or the use of force against the territorial integrity or the political independence of the other side, won’t use or allow to use their territory for armed aggression against the other side. However, given the current indifferent attitude to international law by the collective West, this behavior became the norm," the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.
"We will react depending on the situation," the diplomatic agency concluded.