Russian President, Vladimir Putinconveyed his direct protest against the plan Finland to join NATO while talking with President Sauli Niinisto on Saturday (14/5).
“President Putin stressed that giving up the policy of military neutrality was a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement. Reuters.
The statement continued, “Such a change in foreign policy [Finlandia] could have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations.”
During the conversation, Niinisto formally conveyed to Putin his country’s plans to register as a member of NATO.
“President Niinisto announces that Finland is enlisting as a member of NATO in the next few days,” reads an excerpt of the statement posted on the website of the Finnish Presidential Office. AFP.
Niinisto told Putin he understood the importance of Russia’s 2021 request not to join NATO. However, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed Finland’s security situation.”
Niinisto also emphasized that since the first meeting with Putin in 2012, he had stated that all independent countries had the right to maximize their security.
“That is also what is happening now. By joining NATO, Finland is strengthening its security and implementing its responsibilities. This decision is no different from any other country,” the statement said.
Finland also stressed that in the future, it will deal with questions related to its relations with Russia in a professional manner.
“The conversation was very straight to the point and without tension. Avoiding tension is important,” says Niinisto.
So far, Putin has been urging neighboring countries not to join NATO. The warning grew stronger as more European countries joined the defense bloc.
Apart from Finland, Ukraine also briefly considered joining NATO. That desire was one of the things that made Russia decide to launch an invasion on 24 February.