Sunday, March 3, 2024

Russia summons Finland ambassador over US border deal

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  • Written by Robert Greenall
  • BBC news

image source, Getty Images

Russia has summoned the Finnish ambassador in Moscow after Finland signed a new agreement on military cooperation with the United States.

Monday’s agreement gives the United States extensive access to Finland’s long border with Russia.

The Russian government said it would “take the necessary measures to counter the aggressive decisions of Finland and its NATO allies.”

Finland joined NATO this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently accused NATO of “dragging” Finland into NATO membership and announced the creation of a new military district near Finland’s border.

image caption,

All borders between Finland and Russia will be closed until January 14th

The agreement signed Monday gives the United States rapid military access and assistance to Finland in the event of a conflict, as well as joint military training.

“We do not expect the United States to look out for Finland’s defense,” Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen was quoted as saying by AFP news agency. We will share the burden.”

“However, this agreement significantly strengthens our ability to act together in all situations.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia had no intention of leaving the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military buildup” on its borders unattended.

“The current Finnish authorities are fully responsible for turning this zone of good neighborliness into a zone of potential conflict,” she said.

During the Cold War, Finland avoided joining Western military alliances and had relatively friendly relations with Russia’s predecessor, the Soviet Union.

However, fearing that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could spread to other neighboring countries, it applied to join NATO along with Sweden.

It shares a 1,340 km (830 mile) border with Russia.

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