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Putin says military escalation possible on Finnish border

In a defiant response to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, citing it as the countries’ “meaningless” move, Putin has threatened to deploy troops and “systems of destruction” along the Finnish border.
putin march 2024
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to Director General of Rossiya Segodnya media group Dmitry Kiselyov in Moscow, Russia, 12 March 2024. Credit: screenshot from the video
Putin says military escalation possible on Finnish border

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Kremlin-controlled media Russia-1 about his intention to boost forces along the country’s border with Finland in response to Finland’s accession to NATO.

Putin gave the interview with Russia’s RIA state news agency and Rossiya-1 state television before the presidential elections in Russia, which will take place on 15-17 March and certainly secure him another six years in power.

Criticizing Finland and Sweden’s move to join the military alliance, Putin stated in an interview with Russia’s RIA state news agency and Rossiya-1 state television, “This is an absolutely meaningless step (for Finland and Sweden) from the point of view of ensuring their own national interests.”

According to Reuters, he also said, “We didn’t have troops there (at the Finnish border), now they will be there. There were no systems of destruction there, now they will appear.”

Putin’s remarks come after Finland officially joined NATO on 4 April 2023, and Sweden followed suit on 7 March 2024.

Finland extended in February the closure of its border with Russia for another month amid concerns that the Kremlin is trying to undermine the Nordic country’s security by sending thousands of migrants over the frontier.

Earlier, the Finnish government accused Russia of funneling migrants to the crossings in retaliation for its decision to increase defense cooperation with the US and accession to NATO, an assertion dismissed by the Kremlin.

Finland’s newly elected president Alexander Stubb said in early February that he does not see any prospects for political dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin as long as Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine.

According to the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, “Finland is currently on Russia’s list of unfriendly countries. It fully supports sanctions (against Russia),” Peskov said.

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