Russia has warned it would be forced to take “retaliatory measures” to address what it called security threats created by Finland’s membership. It had already warned that it would bolster defences along its border with NATO if the alliance deploys any additional troops or equipment to its new member.
The move is a strategic and political blow to President Vladimir Putin, who has long complained about NATO’s expansion toward Russia — though the alliance says it poses no threat to Moscow.
“The Russian Federation will be forced to take military-technical and other retaliatory measures to counter the threats to our national security arising from Finland’s accession to NATO,” the Foreign Ministry warned in a statement.
It said Finland’s move marks “a fundamental change in the situation in Northern Europe, which had previously been one of the most stable regions in the world.”
Russian capacity unclear
Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Finland’s membership reflects the alliance’s anti-Russian course and warned that Moscow will respond depending on what weapons NATO allies place there.
But Peskov also sought to play down the impact, noting that Russia has no territorial disputes with Finland.
It’s not clear what additional military resources Russia could send to the Finnish border. Moscow has deployed the bulk of its most capable military units to Ukraine.