After a telephone conversation, Helsinki and Moscow issued communiqués that revealed the current state of Finnish-Russian relations. Sauli Niinistö wanted to deal with “practical issues”, namely about joining NATO, while Putin took the opportunity to say that it would be a “mistake” to end Finland’s military neutrality.
Much was said in a “direct” and objective conversation. Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, spoke by telephone with Vladimir Putin, Russian President, to discuss the “practical issues of being a country neighboring Russia in a correct and professional way”. The Russian leader, still simmering with Finland’s willingness to join NATO, said ending Finland’s military neutrality would be a “mistake”.
According to a statement by the Finnish head of state released to the press, quoted by AFP, the conversation between the two leaders “was direct and took place without setbacks”, where both considered “avoiding tensions” as a “relevant” point.
In the same document, Sauli Niinistö stated that Finland “wants to deal with the practical issues of being Russia’s neighbor in a correct and professional way”.
In this telephone conversation, Sauli Niinistö also said that he explained to Putin that Moscow’s demands, at the end of 2021, for a freeze on NATO expansion, and the invasion of Ukraine at the end of February “fundamentally” changed the “security environment of Finland”.
Kremlin did not fail to provide clarification on this conversation. In his statement, he says that Vladimir Putin “underlined that the end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to the security of Finland”.
For Russia, Finland’s unwanted entry into NATO “may have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations, which have developed for years in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners, being mutually beneficial.”
Without forgetting the situation in Ukraine, Putin informed his Finnish counterpart about “the state of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, practically suspended by Kyiv, which does not express any interest in a constructive and serious dialogue”, the Kremlin added.
Finland has a long border with Russia and now also has a great desire to belong to NATO. On Thursday, at a press conference, Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that the application for membership should be formalized this Sunday.
The justification for this entry, which is expected from the Finnish side to be as immediate as possible, is Russia’s current position, according to the president. “You [Russia] caused this. Look in the mirror,” said Sauli Niinistö.
Moscow was not at all pleased with this announcement, stating that Finland’s entry into NATO appears as a threat, which requires “taking reciprocal, techno-military and other measures”, to respond to what it considers to be a “threat to security national”.
The repercussions against Finland started just yesterday. Russia has cut off the electricity supply, claiming that the country has not met its payments.
Source: With Agencies