Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Finland this Sunday that the “friendly relationship” between the two countries could experience “problems” after the Nordic country joined NATO.
“There is no problem. Now there will be. We will create the Leningrad Military District (Northwest) and concentrate military units there. Do they need this? It is simply ridiculous,” Putin said in statements to a Moscow TV program.
The Russian leader said that all territorial conflicts between the two countries were resolved in the middle of the 20th century, and regretted that this was why “Finland was drawn into NATO”.
“We had a very good and good relationship,” he insisted.
Moscow wants to strengthen its northwestern region, especially the area around St. Petersburg, the country’s second city, about 300 kilometers from the Finnish capital, Helsinki.
Experts consider Finland’s entry into the Atlantic alliance one of Putin’s biggest miscalculations when he begins his military campaign in Ukraine in February 2022.
This week the Kremlin has already warned that sending US troops to Finnish territory would be an open threat to Russia.
Finland and the United States have reached a cooperation agreement that will allow U.S. troops to use 15 military bases in the Nordic country, the Finnish government said Thursday.
The move will strengthen the Nordic country’s security, allowing the presence and training of US forces and the storage of defense materials on its territory, the Finnish foreign ministry explained in a statement.
Finland, the EU country with the longest border with Russia (1,340 kilometers), chose to abandon its traditional policy of neutrality and joined NATO in April after Russia launched a military campaign in Ukraine.
Moscow threatened countermeasures, including “military-technical” ones.
Helsinki closed its border with Russia in November and reopened it this week, but closed it again 24 hours later due to a surge in migrants from the Middle East.
Officials in the Nordic country accuse Moscow of resorting to “hybrid warfare” methods similar to those used by Belarus on its border with Poland two years ago.
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