‘There Were No Problems There, Now There Will Be’: Putin Warns Finland after NATO Membership – News18

Last Updated: December 17, 2023, 14:57 IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year press conference and the Direct Line question and answer session, at Gostiny Dvor Exhibition Centre in Moscow, Russia December 14, 2023. (Reuters)

Putin warns of issues with Finland over NATO membership. Russia to create new military district. Border tensions rise

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of “problems” with neighbouring Finland after it joined NATO earlier this year, saying Moscow will create a new military district in north-west Russia in response, in an interview published Sunday.

Finland, which shares a 1,340 kilometre border with Russia, joined NATO in April this year in the midst of Moscow’s Ukraine offensive. “They (the West) dragged Finland into NATO. Did we have any disputes with them? All disputes, including territorial ones in the mid-20th century, have long been solved,” Putin told a state TV reporter.

“There were no problems there, now there will be, because we will create the Leningrad military district and concentrate a certain amount of military units there.”

The comments come as Finland again shut its border with Russia this week, accusing it of orchestrating a migrant crisis on its border. Moscow has warned of counter-measures to Helsinki’s NATO accession.

Putin also said Russia had no reason to be at war with NATO countries, after US leader Joe Biden said this month that Moscow “won’t stop” in Ukraine if it is successful there.

“It is rhetoric to justify false policy on Russia,” Putin said. He said Moscow had “no interest — either in geopolitical, economic or military terms — to fight with NATO countries.”

The Kremlin’s Ukraine campaign has reawakened fears of Russian aggression in the eastern flank of NATO.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)