Finland says it could join NATO despite pressure from Russia
Finland has announced that it will join NATO despite Russia warning that the alliance cannot expand further east.
Sauli Niinisto, president of the Nordic country, made the remark during a New Years address on Saturday aimed at angering Vladimir Putin.
Putin had previously called for cast-iron guarantees that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO and said the alliance’s eastward expansion was a threat to its border.
This led to Niinisto’s remark, which seems like a warning to Russia not to threaten neighboring states.
Finland could apply to join NATO, its president said, despite a warning from Vladimir Putin that the alliance must not expand further east
Sauli Niinisto, President of Finland, made the remark during his New Years address when he also called on the EU to take a tougher stance on Russia’s threats to member states
Finland shares a long land border with Russia, and two countries waged a short but bloody war over it between 1939 and 1940, in which Finland inflicted heavy losses on Soviet forces.
“Finland’s room for maneuver and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military orientation and application for NATO membership, should we decide to do so ourselves,” said Niinisto.
He also called on the EU to take a more active role in deterring Russian aggression, which appears to be a blame for Germany, which has been on a gentle line with Moscow for years because the two have close economic ties.
“In this situation, Europe cannot just listen,” added Niinist.
âThe sovereignty of several Member States, including Sweden and Finland, has been called into question from outside the Union.
âThis makes the EU a party involved. The EU cannot be satisfied with the role of a technical coordinator for sanctions. “
In his own address, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, successor to Angela Merkel, took a much more moderate stance towards Russia.
‘We are currently facing new challenges in relation to Ukraine. The inviolability of the borders is precious and non-negotiable, âhe said, without outlining what action Russia will take if it violates these borders.
Finland and Russia waged a short but bloody war over their common border between 1939 and 1940, in which Finland inflicted heavy losses on the Soviets (file image)
Putin calls for cast-iron guarantees that Ukraine will be banned from joining NATO and says the alliance’s expansion poses a serious threat to Moscow
It comes amid border tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Putin parked 100,000 soldiers, tanks and artillery pieces on his side of the border in what the Pentagon believes is an invasion force.
The Kremlin has denied this, saying the troops are there to deter Western aggression and pointing out military exercises nearby.
Joe Biden made two phone calls to Putin to try to defuse the crisis.
High-level negotiations are also taking place between Russian and American diplomats on a list of âred linesâ published by Moscow.
Moscow not only demands the stop of NATO expansion, but also the withdrawal of offensive forces from all former Soviet states and new agreements on the stationing of short-range missiles.
NATO has labeled this position a no-starter but says it is speaking with member states to try to reach a compromise.
It comes after America phased out a number of Cold War-era arms control treaties, including the Medium-Range Forces Treaty – and said they no longer serve because they don’t include China.
The new START, another nuclear weapons treaty, was also due to expire, but was temporarily extended until 2026.
Putin lamented the loss of arms control agreements between the world superpowers and fought for replacements.
Meanwhile, Chinese think tanks have also admitted that an arms control agreement including Beijing is in preparation, but has not said in what form or when it could be signed.
Russia currently has around 100,000 soldiers stationed on the border with Ukraine who the Pentagon has warned were an invading force
Ukraine urges its Western allies to send reinforcements and warns that it will not be able to withstand a Russian attack (pictured, Russian troops in camp)
Russian forces near the border include large numbers of tanks and artillery that Washington fears would be used in a lightning-fast attack (pictured)
In the meantime, all three superpowers are strengthening their armed forces and adopting an increasingly bellicose attitude on the world stage.
Apart from the fact that Putin is concentrating his troops in Eastern Europe, Xi Jinping is threatening the island of Taiwan – and threatening to forcibly “reunite” it with the mainland.
That has led America to seek new allies in the region and share nuclear technology with the US, including the AUKUS Pact, which will deliver nuclear submarines to Australia, and the Quad Pact with India and Japan.
But in good news released on Monday, five major world powers – the US, China, Russia, France and the UK – made a new promise to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and not use them in conflict.
The commitment came in a rare joint statement Monday ahead of a major nuclear deal review later this year.
“We firmly believe that the proliferation of such weapons must be prevented,” said UN Security Council permanent members China, France, Russia, Great Britain and the United States, adding, “A nuclear war cannot and must never be waged . “
The statement came after the recent review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which first came into force in 1970, was postponed from January 4 to later in the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aside from the current differences, which have created great tension between China and Russia and their Western partners, the five world powers said that they see “avoiding wars between nuclear-armed states and reducing strategic risks as our primary responsibility”.
“Since the use of nuclear weapons would have far-reaching consequences, we also reaffirm that nuclear weapons – as long as they exist – should serve defense purposes, deter aggression and prevent wars,” says the White House.
The powers that be added: “We all intend to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent the unauthorized or accidental use of nuclear weapons.”