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Russia calls Finland and Sweden NATO moves ‘a mistake with far-reaching consequences’

Russia on Monday issued a stern rebuke to Finland and Sweden for their decision to join the NATO military alliance, warning of “profound consequences” for what it said were gross mistakes.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Finland and Sweden should have no illusions that Moscow will accept their decisions, and added that the “overall level of military tensions” will increase .

“We are carrying out a thorough analysis of the situation. It has certainly changed drastically in light of developments. All that [plans to apply for Nato membership] reflects an absolutely false and distorted perception of what is happening in the world,” Ryabkov said, according to the Tass news agency.

“We believe it is quite obvious that neither Sweden nor Finland’s security will be enhanced as a result of the decision, while the format of our guarantee of our security is a separate issue,” he said. he adds.

The Russian diplomat doubled down on the Kremlin’s response to the developing situation after Moscow said it was closely following Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join NATO.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia was convinced that its membership would do nothing to strengthen Europe’s security architecture.

Russia’s warning came as Sweden announced it would seek NATO membership, after Finland, which shares a 1,300 km (800 mile) border with Russia.

Both have abandoned their longstanding opposition to joining the US-led bloc, maintained since its formation in 1949 to counter the military might of the Soviet Union and its allies.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (right) and US Senator Mitch McConnell (left) at a press conference in Helsinki on May 16

(EPA)

“Europe, Sweden and the Swedish people now live in a new and dangerous reality,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said during a debate in parliament.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin sees NATO’s eastward expansion as a threat to his country’s security.

Warning NATO headquarters in Belgium, the United States and other NATO countries of rising military tensions, Ryabkov lamented that “common sense” was being overlooked.

“Brussels, Washington and the other NATO capitals should have no illusions, we will simply accept the fact. So if the overall level of military tensions increases, there will be less predictability in the sphere,” he said.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaks at the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki on May 16

(AP)

“Common sense is sacrificed to a few ghost ideas about what should be done in the situation,” he added. “This will be another gross mistake with far-reaching consequences. But then, alas, this is the level of common sense of those who make political decisions in the corresponding countries.

NATO member Turkey also criticized Finald and Sweden’s decision to seek membership in the bloc, in a surprise to the west.

To justify his position, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that “Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations”. Ankara is seeking the repatriation of 33 people across Finland and Sweden with alleged links to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants or Muslim cleric Fethullan Gulen, whom Mr Erdogan accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt of state in 2016.

Such opposition has the potential to thwart any bids from both nations, since new membership in the alliance depends on the unanimous agreement of all 30 member states.

Last month, one of Mr Putin’s closest allies said Moscow could deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic coast , if the two nations joined NATO.

Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917 and lost swathes of territory after allying with Nazi Germany to fight against the Soviet Union in World War II. Sweden has not fought a war for 200 years and has maintained a foreign policy focused on supporting democracy and nuclear disarmament.


The Independent Gt

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