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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Russia says recent US-Finland defense cooperation agreement will not result in ‘no answer’

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A bilateral defense cooperation agreement between the United States and Finland signed on December 18th “threatens the security of the Russian Federation” and will not go “unanswered,” a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Maria Zakharova December 19th.

Helsinki last week announced an agreement that strengthens mutual defense ties and gives the United States access to 15 Finnish military facilities, including four air bases and one naval base.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the signing ceremony: “Once it takes effect, the U.S. military will be able to work together more efficiently and effectively. The U.S. military will have more opportunities to train together and strengthen NATO interoperability.” “

A defense pact with NATO member Norway was renewed last year, and the United States also signed a new agreement in early December with Sweden, which is currently seeking membership in the alliance.

Zakharova said that the Finnish ambassador to Russia had been summoned following the announcement.

She said a “NATO buildup” on Russia’s borders was a threat and claimed the deal would allow the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on mainland Finland.

Zakharova said Russia would “take the necessary measures to counter the aggressive decisions of Finland and its NATO allies.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin also threatened Finland on December 17, saying that “problems will arise” if Finland joins NATO.

Finnish officials explicitly refuted the idea that U.S. nuclear weapons could be deployed to Finland as part of the deal.

Despite losing about 10% of its territory to the Soviet Union in the 1940s, Finland has long maintained a policy of neutrality toward Russia. Russia has never returned any territory.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, Finnish public support for joining the alliance changed dramatically and policy was reversed.

Finland officially joined NATO on April 4, 2023. Sweden has also applied to join NATO in May 2022, but ratification has been delayed by both Turkey and Hungary.

Also read: Opinion: Putin’s impasse

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