Putin Warns Finland Against Joining NATO

Says Russia Might Move Troops Closer to Finnish Border in Response

by Jason Ditz, July 01, 2016

Following a meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement warning Finland against joining NATO, warning that such a move would mean the end of Russia keeping its troops 1,500 km from their mutual border.

Putin cautioned that in joining Finland would overnight put NATO at the borders of the Russian Federation, adding that “NATO would gladly fight with Russia until the last Finnish soldier,” but that neither Finland nor Russia would benefit from such a thing.

A Finnish government report from back in April was also cautious about the idea of joining NATO, warning it would lead to a “crisis” with Russia, potentially a really economically harmful one for the Finns, who trade heavily with Russia.

Polls have shown Finnish voters overwhelmingly opposed to seeking NATO membership, though several officials have talked up such an idea, particularly as a “joint membership” effort with Sweden.

NATO clearly would be keen to add Finland to the alliance, giving them a much longer border with Russia upon which to build up militarily. The existing border to Russia is in the tiny Baltic states, and they’re getting increasingly full of NATO ground troops.

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