Tuesday 5/17/22
NATO-RUSSIA TENSIONS

Putin says Finnish plan to join NATO is a mistake in call with leader

The Finnish president organized the call to explain why his country plans to join NATO, according to a statement from Helsinki

19 February 2022, Bavaria, Munich: Finland's President Sauli Niinisto speaks at the 58th Munich Security Conference. Photo: Tobias Hase/dpa.
File photo of Finland's President Sauli Niinisto. Photo: Tobias Hase/dpa.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinistö that Helsinki's moves towards joining NATO are a mistake and that Russia does not pose a threat to Finland, according to a Kremlin statement.

Finland's departure from its traditional neutrality would cause the two countries' good neighbourly relations to deteriorate, Putin said.

The Finnish president organized the call to explain why his country plans to join NATO, according to a statement from Helsinki.

"President Niinistö told President Putin how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland," the statement read.

"The conversation was open and direct, but was conducted without escalation. It was considered important to avoid tensions," Niinistö said, according to the Finnish presidential office website.

Putin says Finnish plan to join NATO is a mistake in call with leader
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