LONDON: The Kremlin said on Thursday (May 12) that Finland’s move to join NATO was “absolutely” a threat to Russia and that the expansion of the military bloc would not make Europe or the world more stable.
During a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Finland’s steps to join NATO were a cause for regret and a reason to impose a symmetrical response.
The Finnish president and prime minister said earlier on Thursday that their country must apply “without delay” to join NATO’s military alliance.
Asked if this posed a threat to Russia, Peskov said: “Absolutely. NATO’s expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.”
He said Finland had joined “unfriendly steps” against Russia.
When asked what Russia’s response would look like, he replied: “Everything will depend on how this … process of NATO expansion goes, the extent to which the military infrastructure moves closer to our borders.”
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Finland had maintained a neutrality policy towards Russia since World War II, with which it shares a 1,300 km border.
The country is now likely to join NATO this year, along with neighboring Sweden, another traditionally neutral power that had declined to join the US-led alliance.