Russia to strengthen border with Finland if NATO deploys weapons
Russia will strengthen its border with Finland if NATO's striking weapons are deployed in the neighbouring country amid the latter's intention to join the military alliance
Russia will strengthen its border with Finland if NATO's striking weapons are deployed in the neighbouring country amid the latter's intention to join the military alliance, a top official said in Moscow.
"If NATO deploys offensive, striking weapons in Finland, in close proximity to us, we will strengthen our border and increase the presence of Russian troops on the border," Xinhua news agency quoted Viktor Bondarev, chairman of the Defence and Security Committee of the Federation Council, as saying late Sunday.
He called Finland's intention to join NATO "disturbing" in a geopolitical sense.
Earlier on Sunday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and the government's foreign policy committee took an official decision to start the process of the country's application to become a NATO member.
Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sanna Marin, President Niinisto described the day as historical as a new era is opening.
He said the Finnish security is not "a zero-sum game", not directed against anyone.
In a phone call initiated by Helsinki on Saturday, Niinisto informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of Finland's decision to seek NATO membership in the next few days.
In response, Putin "stressed that abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, since there are no threats to Finland's security", adding that it may also have a negative impact on Moscow-Helsinki relations.