Finland, Sweden made a grave mistake: Russian Minister

Moscow, May 16 (IANS) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Finland and Sweden have “made a grave mistake” with their intentions to join the NATO military alliance.
He stressed that Russia would not put up with such a situation and that by doing so, the general level of military tension on the European continent will increase, RT reported.
“They should not have any illusions that we will simply put up with this, just like in Brussels, Washington and other NATO capitals. That is, the general level of military tension will increase, and there will be less predictability in this area. It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed to some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying.
The Deputy Foreign Minister called the decision to expand the military alliance another grave mistake with “far-reaching consequences”.
“What should I do? This is the level of those who make political decisions today in the respective countries.”
Ryabkov’s remarks came after Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and the government’s foreign policy committee on Sunday took an official decision to start the process of the country’s application to become a NATO member.
In a phone call initiated by Helsinki the previous day, Niinisto informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of Finland’s decision to seek NATO membership in the next few days.
In response, Putin “stressed that abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, since there are no threats to Finland’s security”, adding that it may also have a negative impact on Moscow-Helsinki relations.
Finland shares a 1,300 km border with Russia.
Sweden has also indicated its intention to join the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, the BBC reported.

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