There is ‘no panic’ in Helsinki over a possible ‘nasty’ response from Russia, says EU affairs minister
Helsinki would strengthen NATO and bring a lot of “Added value” to the US-led military alliance, Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Property Management Tytti Tuppurainen said in an interview with Sky News on Saturday.
Finland’s push for NATO membership, which was reinvigorated amid the Ukraine crisis, is “about our own resistance” and the freedom of “national movement maneuver” Tuppurainen said. She admitted it was known “for years the Kremlin has not been in favor of NATO enlargement”, but claimed the move was not intended to fuel confrontation with Moscow.
“We are ready for all kinds of malevolence and nasty measures against us. But there is absolutely no panic. We are not afraid,” Tuppurainen said.
“We have a very strong army of conscripts. We have just made the decision to buy 60 F-35 fighters, and we are well equipped, and we will be a resource for the alliance”, she added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone call with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto, on Saturday, during which Niinisto told Putin that his country was close to making a decision on joining the US-led military bloc. United in a few days.
Putin warned that Helsinki’s decision to abandon its “traditional policy of military neutrality” would be a “error,” pointing out that there was “no threat to the security of Finland.” The moving “may have a negative impact” on “mutually beneficial” relations between the two countries, he said.
Sweden, neighboring Finland, is also considering NATO membership and could submit its candidacy as early as Monday, according to local media.
Finland’s and Sweden’s moves to join NATO will not go unanswered, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Glushko, but it’s premature to talk about steps that could include relocating nuclear weapons closer of the two Nordic countries.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, after kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Luhansk . The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state. Mariupol is claimed by the separatist republic of Donetsk as an integral part of its territory.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.