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Vladimir Putin warns Finland that trading neutrality for NATO is a mistake

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto it would be a mistake to abandon neutrality and join NATO, which could damage relations between their two countries, the Kremlin said.

Most important points:

The Kremlin says joining NATO “could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations” Moscow describes the call between the two leaders as a “candid exchange of views”.

The two countries said their presidents spoke by phone two days after Finland announced its intention to join the Western alliance.

Moscow has described that as a security threat to which it must respond but has not specified how.

Niinisto’s office told Mr. Putin “how fundamentally Russia’s demands in late 2021, aimed at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, have changed Finland’s security environment”.

He said Finland wants to handle relations with its Russian neighbor ” properly and professionally.

Mr. Niinisto said he had a “direct and clear conversation” with Mr. Putin about Finland’s plans. (AP: Frank Augstein)

The Kremlin said: “Vladimir Putin stressed that it would be a mistake to abandon the traditional policy of military neutrality, as there are no threats to Finland’s security.

“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could hurt Russian-Finnish relations.”

Moscow described the call as a “candid exchange of views”, normally a diplomatic euphemism for a difficult conversation.

Mr. Niinisto said: “The conversation was direct and clear and conducted without irritation. Avoiding tension was considered important.”

Finland’s membership is expected to be followed by a similar move from Sweden, with Putin facing exactly what he said he wanted to avoid when he invaded Ukraine on February 24: further NATO expansion to Russia’s borders.

Turkey ‘doesn’t close the door’ on joining NATO.

President Erdogan spoke to the media after Friday prayers in Istanbul. (AP: Turkish Presidency)

Turkey has not closed the door to Sweden and Finland joining NATO but wants to negotiate with the Scandinavian countries and end what it sees as terrorist activity, especially in Stockholm, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said Saturday.

Istanbul. “We’re not closing the door. But we’re raising this as a national security issue for Turkey,” Ibrahim Kalin, the president’s top foreign policy adviser, told Reuters in an interview.

Erdogan surprised NATO members and the two Nordic countries seeking membership by saying that Turkey couldn’t support the alliance’s expansion on Friday because Finland and Sweden were “home to many terrorist organizations”.

Any country that wants to join the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance needs the unanimous support of the military alliance members.

The United States and other member states have tried to clarify Ankara’s position.

Sweden and its closest military partner, Finland, have so far remained outside NATO, which was formed in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

The two countries are wary of antagonizing their big neighbor, but security concerns have increased since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Stockholm is widely expected to follow Helsinki’s lead and could apply to join the 30-nation military alliance as early as Monday.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, and up and down hands for volume. Watch Duration: 2 minutes 1 second 2m 1s Russia threatens retaliation after Finland announces its intention to join NATO.

Kalin said the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — raises and recruits in Europe and that its presence is “strong and open and recognized” in Sweden in particular.

“What needs to be done is clear: they need to stop allowing PKK establishments, activities, organizations, individuals, and other forms of presence in those countries,” Mr. Kalin said.

“NATO membership is always a process. We’ll see how it goes. But this is the first point we want to bring to the attention of all allies and Swedish authorities,” he added.

“Of course, we want to discuss, and negotiate with Swedish colleagues.”


Posted 2 hours ago Sat May 14, 2022, at 2:36 PM, updated 2 hours ago Sat May 14, 2022, at 2:46 PM

Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

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