HELSINKI (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Saturday that relations between the two neighbors could be “negatively affected” if Finland follows through with plans to apply for NATO membership.
The Kremlin’s press service said in a statement that Putin told Sauli Niinisto that Finland’s abandonment “of its traditional policy of military neutrality would be an error since there are no threats to Finland’s security.”
“Such a change in the country’s foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built in the spirit of good neighborliness and partnership for many years, and were mutually beneficial,” the statement added.
The response came after Niinisto told Putin in a phone conversation that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that has a complex history with its huge eastern neighbor “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days.”
Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finnish
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