Sunday, March 3, 2024

Russian diplomat warns NATO countries ‘first to suffer’ in war

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NATO’s new member Finland will be the first country affected by escalating tensions between Russia and the alliance, Russia’s top diplomat has warned.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the international organization in Vienna, said Finland’s entry into NATO in April after decades of non-alignment meant there would be no risk of hostilities erupting between the security alliance and Russia. He said the country had become vulnerable.

Finland’s decision to join NATO was prompted by the regional threat posed by President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The accession has infuriated Moscow, which has accused Helsinki of sparking a migrant crisis by sending refugees to its borders. The Kremlin denies such claims.

Mikhail Ulyanov
On March 6, 2023, in Vienna, Austria, Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organizations in Vienna, told RIA Novosti that if tensions between Moscow and Russia escalate, Finland, a new NATO member, will He said there is a possibility of “suffering first.” Alliance.
Alex Harada/Getty Images

“I just don’t understand how Finland is benefiting from this,” Ulyanov told state news agency RIA Novosti, explaining how the neighboring countries had been living “peacefully” until now. .

He said that the Russian government has traditionally viewed Finland as a “neutral and generally friendly country” with which it has good relations, but that with Finland joining NATO, the Russian government has taken measures such as rebuilding the Leningrad Military District and the Moscow Military District. He said he had begun taking retaliatory measures.

Russia has also criticized a new defense agreement between Helsinki and Washington that gives US forces access to Finland’s border areas with Russia.

“If the situation worsens, Finland itself will probably be the first to suffer. Of course, I don’t want that to happen,” he said. newsweek has contacted the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

In August 2022, Mr. Ulyanov posted on social media saying, “There will be no mercy for the Ukrainian people,” in response to the U.S. military aid plan for Kiev, and then pushed the expression “genocide.” was criticized by Ukraine.

He deleted the message and claimed that his comments had been misinterpreted, instead saying that U.S. aid to Kiev would only prolong the conflict and show that the U.S. government has no mercy for the Ukrainian people. He said it was meaningful.

Tensions between Finland and Russia continue to rise. Earlier this month, Putin said in an interview that Western powers had occupied Helsinki and “dragged it into NATO,” even though all disputes between the neighbors had been “resolved a long time ago.”

President Putin told Russia’s state broadcaster Russia 1 that he would concentrate military forces in areas bordering Finland, adding: “There have been no problems so far, but there will be problems in the future.”

But Putin described US President Joe Biden’s warning that Russia would “continue” if it wins the Ukraine war as “complete nonsense” and could someday attack NATO allies and draw US forces into the conflict. suggested that there is a sex. President Putin said Russia has “no reason, no interest, no geopolitical interest” in fighting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), whose charter prohibits all attacks against one member state. It is defined as an attack on member states.