A spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry delivered a threat to two European countries considering NATO membership, in chilling remarks that come as Russia engages in aggression against Ukraine.
In a Friday morning news conference, Russia’s Maria Zakharova warned that Sweden and Finland would face “military and political consequences” if they seek NATO membership.
BREAKING: Russia warned Finland and Sweden will face “severe military and political consequences” if they attempt to join NATO: FMpic.twitter.com/WRS3hHDrEp
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 25, 2022
“We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe,” said Zakharova, according to The Business Standard.
Zakharova’s remarks raise the question of Russia carrying out attacks on Finland and Sweden similar to its invasion of Ukraine this week.
Representatives of Sweden and Finland are slated to attend a Friday NATO conference, in the latest indication that the leaders of the northern European countries are more willing to consider membership in the alliance.
🚨 Non-Nato members Sweden and Finland will attend tomorrow's Nato summit according to @jensstoltenberg
— Shona Murray (@ShonaMurray_) February 24, 2022
Russia has continuously demanded that its neighbors be permanently prohibited from joining NATO, in spite of the wishes of the people who live in these countries.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the arrogant threat in a tweet.
💬#Zakharova: We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) February 25, 2022
Finland has a tenuous history with Russia, having fought an invasion from the Soviet Union in the 1939 Winter War.
Finland’s military spending amounts to 1.99 percent of the country’s GDP, according to Statista.
Terms of the NATO alliance require members to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on their military, a condition that European NATO members often ignore.
Finland would enter the alliance already nearly meeting the requirement.
NATO member states are required to defend one another in the event of attack.
Ukraine’s leaders have asked for a timeline to join the alliance. As non-members, the country isn’t entitled to military assistance from some of the world’s most powerful countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
In spite of Russia’s determination to prevent its neighbors from joining NATO, its war of aggression is likely to further drive them to the western alliance.