Putin warned Finland that it is "a mistake" end its neutrality and join NATO

Saturday May 14, 2022 | 6:32 p.m.

Finland informed the Kremlin on Saturday of its imminent candidacy to join NATO, which was described as “a mistake” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, while the G7 stated that “it will never recognize the borders that Russia tries to change with its military intervention” in Ukraine.

The Finnish president, Sauli Niinisto, held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart on Saturday to formally announce his decision to apply for membership of the transatlantic military alliance, something that could become official tomorrow.

“Putin stressed that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, as there is no threat to Finland’s security,” the Kremlin said in a statement about the phone conversation between the two leaders.

The text stressed that this change in foreign policy “may negatively influence Russian-Finnish relations, which for many years were characterized by a spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation between partners.”

According to the Kremlin, the conversation was “frank” and was characterized by the “exchange of frank points of view,” the Europa Press news agency reported.

“In particular, Putin shared his vision of the negotiating process between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations, which was practically frozen by kyiv, which shows no interest in a serious and constructive dialogue,” the statement said.

Russia suspended the supply of electricity to Finland.

The company responsible for the import, RAO Nordic, with 100% of its Russian capital, had announced yesterday that the supply was going to be suspended due to non-payment, although no details were given on whether this is related to European sanctions against Russia since the invasion. from Ukraine.

Exports to Finland “are currently equivalent to zero. This has been the case since midnight (6:00 p.m. on Friday in Argentina), as had been announced,” Timo Kaukonen, head of operations at Fingrid, the operator, told the AFP news agency. Finnish.

The network works thanks to imports from Sweden, according to real-time information from Fingrid, which announced yesterday that it could perfectly do without Russian electricity.

Finland, which shares nearly 1,300 kilometers of border with Russia, imports 10% of the electricity it needs from its neighbor.

The announcement of the end of electricity supply to Finland coincides with an increase in tension between the two countries due to the will of the Nordic nation to submit its candidacy to NATO.

“Being a member of NATO would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member, Finland would also strengthen the Alliance as a whole,” President Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a statement on Thursday.

Without expressing a formal recommendation, a report prepared by the Swedish Government with all the parties in Parliament yesterday ruled in favor of also joining the military alliance.

Although the Kremlin threatened Finland and Sweden with “consequences” in case of accession, the report considers an armed attack highly unlikely, but acknowledges that Russian “provocations” and “retaliation” “cannot be ruled out”.

Both Scandinavian countries could officially join NATO at the summit scheduled for June in Madrid, although for that they need the unanimous vote of the member countries, something that Turkey hinted on Friday that it could not happen because it considers that the two Nordic countries are sanctuaries of Kurdish “terrorist organizations”.

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