Lavrov Warns Finland Against Joining 'Anti-Russia' NATO
- The Moscow Times
- Jul. 04 2016 18:13
- Last edited 18:13
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged Finland not to join NATO, saying that the move would provoke a Russian military 'response,' the TASS news agency reported Monday.
УWe do not believe that our Finnish neighbors would be tempted to join in with anti-Russian activity," Lavrov said.
УIt is purely a military and a technical issue. If an organization that presents itself as your opponent moves its infrastructure to your borders, then you must react,Ф he said.
Lavrov's words echoed Russian president Vladimir Putin's speech on Friday. Putin said that Russia valued Finland's Уneutral statusФ and had moved Russian troops away from the border as a sign of respect.
УWe will respect any choice of the Finnish people,Ф Putin said. УBut do you think we will continue to act in the same way [if Finland joins NATO?] We have withdrawn our troops to a distance of 1500 kilometers from the border. Do you think they will stay there?Ф he said.
Relations with Russia are thought to be high on the agenda at the upcoming biennial NATO summit in Warsaw from 8 to 9 July The Finnish presidentТs office Monday confirmed that FinlandТs president, defense minister and foreign minister will all attend the summit.