Russia has warned Transatlantic military alliance, NATO and the US that it could retaliate with military measures if NATO uses Finland’s territory.
On Monday, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat (Helsinki News) reported that Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mikael Antell said discussions on a new defense cooperation agreement between Helsinki and Washington may allow for the construction of new military infrastructure on Finland’s soil.
Antell told the paper that the agreement would not only augment Finland’s recent NATO membership but could also result in American soldiers being deployed to bases near Russia’s border with Finland.
Finland officially became a member of NATO in early April. The nation’s admittance to the alliance was perceived by many observers as a major setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said on multiple occasions that one of his objectives for his war in Ukraine was to prevent the expansion of NATO on Russia’s borders.
Before Finland joined NATO, five NATO countries shared borders with Russia or the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Those countries accounted for roughly 754 miles of shared borders with Russia.
Finland, meanwhile, shares 830 miles of borders along northwestern Russia. With Finland becoming a member of the alliance, NATO officially increased its total amount of shared borders with Russia to 1,584 miles.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, responding to the report that the U.S. military may place troops on Finnish bases, said on Thursday, May 4;
“We are closely following NATO’s plans regarding Finland,” Zakharova said during a news briefing, according to Tass, the Russian government’s news agency.
“We confirm that Russia will be forced to take retaliatory measures of both military-technical and other nature to curb threats to our national security that appear in this connection.”
“We are closely following NATO’s plans regarding Finland,” she said this week in response to a report that the U.S. military may place troops on Finnish bases.
Zakharova added that Moscow sees any plans regarding U.S. troops in Finland as Helsinki’s loss of sovereignty.
“However, both Finland itself and NATO must realize that pumping Northern Europe with troops will only contribute to growing military and political tensions in this region as well,” she said.