Finland Ignores Russian Threats: “No Reason to Panic”

Faye Higbee

Vladimir Putin threatened Finland and Sweden that if they sought NATO membership, he would move his nukes close to the Baltic Sea. Finland defied Russian threats by saying that the threats would not affect their decision. The trouble with bullies is that sometimes their threats can cause their victims to band together and have the exact opposite response from what they wanted in the first place.

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Finland and Sweden have been neutral in military conflicts since 1948. NATO started in 1949. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused public sentiment for membership in NATO to rise. Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto reflected that sentiment in his remarks reported on Twitter. Putin’s threats against Finland and Sweden not to join NATO apparently are making the countries nervous enough to do just the opposite of what Putin intended.

The Russian threats to Finland and Sweden included both the threat of placing nukes near the Baltic Sea, as well as “military and political consequences.”

A Wake Up Call

The nations of Finland and Sweden have trusted Russia for decades, in spite of history that shows Russia has tyrannical tendencies. Even after the invasion of Crimea in 2014, they remained “neutral.” The invasion of Ukraine is different – the destruction of Ukrainian cities, the displacement of millions, and the deaths of citizens has provided a “wake up call.”

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters the country will decide whether to apply to join NATO “within weeks.” And there have already been long debates in the 200-seat Eduskunta legislature.

Finland shares the EU’s longest border with Russia, an area of 1,340-kilometers (833-miles). The proximity is troublesome.  Marin said it was time for her nation to seriously reconsider where they stand on their foreign policy. 

She said: “Russia is not the neighbor we thought it was. I think we will have very careful discussions, but we are also not taking any more time than we have to in this process, because the situation is, of course, very severe.”

“The war started by Russia endangers security and stability in entire Europe,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said as he presented the report. “Russia’s attack on Ukraine will have a long-lasting impact on our security environment. Trust in Russia has plummeted.”

USAHerald

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Featured Screenshot file- Finland flag (left), Sweden flag (right)

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