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Senior Russian diplomat warns about proportional response to threats coming from Finland

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, many of such measures have already been announced

MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. A senior Russian diplomat has warned about Russia’s proportional response to any threats coming from Finland and Sweden after their accession to NATO.

"As for Russia, our response, according to the Russian president’s [Vladimir Putin] numerous statements, will be proportional to the threats that might originate from these countries (Finland, Sweden - TASS)," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said when asked to comment on Finland’s plans to deploy NATO ground troops. "Naturally, we will make efforts to safely ensure our security and defense capacity."

According to Grushko, many of such measures have already been announced. "They include the re-establishment of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts, and the formation of the Karelian [army] corps," he explained.

He noted that Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO will be followed by a range of infrastructure changes.

"The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO would scale up the alliance’s northward ambitions, in the Arctic, as that will not only bring additional capacity and deployment of more troops and weapons to Finland and Sweden and more training but also install corresponding command outposts and headquarters there," the senior Russian diplomat said.

Finland’s IltaLehti newspaper reported on April 9, citing its sources, that NATO plans to set up a headquarters for its ground forces in Northern Europe in the Finnish city of Mikkeli some 140 kilometers from the border with Russia. Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram also told the newspaper that the headquarters will be established in Finland.

In peacetime, the headquarters will engage in planning and implementing NATO training activities in the region. When created, the so-called high-readiness headquarters will operate around the clock and report to its headquarters in Norfolk on the US’ east coast, the report said. According to the newspaper, the issue is on the agenda for the NATO summit in Washington in July. Mikkeli is home to Finland's army headquarters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a meeting with Finnish President Alexander Stubb in Brussels on April 10 that it would take several weeks or even months to finalize the decision on laying down the headquarters in Finland.