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Finland will be the first to suffer as tensions between Russia and NATO rise – Russian diplomat – Euractiv

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RIA news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Thursday that Finland would be the first country to suffer if tensions between Russia and NATO escalate due to the closeness of Russia and NATO.

Finland joined NATO this year after decades of neutrality, a move that Russia claims has turned Helsinki into a hostile presence.

“They were living peacefully and peacefully and all of a sudden they are fighting between Russia and NATO as part of an alliance, but they are our neighbors so if there is any kind of escalation, God forbid, they will You will be the first to suffer,” Mikhail Ulyanov said. Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna told RIA.

Russia warned Finland this month over a new defense pact that would give the United States extensive access to the Finnish-Russian border.

Meanwhile, Russia will soon deploy its latest howitzers to the Northern Military District, which borders Finland and Norway, the head of the Rostec defense conglomerate said in remarks published on Wednesday.

Tests of the new Union SV self-propelled artillery unit have been completed and mass production has already begun, Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov said in an interview with state-run RIA news agency.

He said the first pilot batch is expected to be delivered by the end of 2023.

“I think that this class of howitzers will soon appear there (in the Northern Military District), because they are needed because they have an advantage over Western artillery models in terms of range,” Chemezov said.

Ukraine’s air defense systems shot down seven of eight Russian-launched Shahed drones overnight, the country’s air force announced Thursday, after being bombarded by Russian drones on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Air Force announced on Telegram messenger that the drones were shot down in three regions in the central and southern regions. It is unclear whether the drones that were not shot down reached their targets.

The Russian Ministry of Defense also announced that it had thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow-occupied Crimea overnight.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

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