All news

Moscow would value a formal refusal by Helsinki to host foreign troops, senator says

It was emphasized that Russia would develop retaliatory measures on the basis of real actions rather than on declarations

PETROZAVODSK, April 7. /TASS/. A decision by Finland to opt out of hosting foreign troops after joining NATO would be appreciated by Russia, Vladimir Chizhov, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and senator from the Karelia Region, told TASS.

"We have no conflict with Finland. First, they could rethink things and withdraw from NATO. Second, they could make stipulations on their membership in NATO, the same way the Norwegians did in their time. Norway made a unilateral commitment to not conduct any NATO drills above specific northern latitudes, and further not to allow any foreign military presence on Norwegian soil. If Finland were to make similar commitments as a NATO member, then Russia would duly value and appreciate such a move," the senator said during a working trip to Karelia.

Chizhov emphasized that Russia would develop retaliatory measures on the basis of real actions rather than on declarations. The senator also pointed out that the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act is still in effect, and it states that nuclear weapons and substantial combat forces cannot be deployed on a permanent basis to new members of the alliance. "Of course, the actual number of 'substantial combat forces’ was never clearly defined, but there was an understanding that it is approximately equivalent to a brigade. This is why when Warsaw makes hysterical demands that Washington ‘hurry up and send us a US division,’ a priori it constitutes a violation. I certainly hope that a US division will not be deployed to Finland," Chizhov said.

In May 2022, Helsinki and Stockholm submitted their applications to join the US-led North Atlantic Alliance but the process was initially blocked by Ankara, which demanded that the two Nordic countries extradite certain individuals to Turkey that Ankara suspects of terrorism and being implicated in the 2016 coup attempt, as well as that bans on weapons supplies to Turkey be lifted. In order to resolve these issues, Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum listing specific steps that, according to Ankara, the two Nordic nations should take. Turkey’s parliament passed a bill ratifying a protocol on Finland’s NATO membership on March 30. On Tuesday, Helsinki officially became the 31st member of the alliance. In January 2023, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a decision to establish two new military districts, the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, as well as to form an army corps to be based in Karelia.