Russian officials warn Finland and Sweden of 'serious military and political' retaliation if they join NATO

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  • Officials in Russia said Finland and Sweden would face repercussions if they joined NATO.

  • Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova made the comments at a news conference on Friday, reports said.

  • The ministry doubled down on this stance in a tweet on Friday.

Officials in Russia warned that Finland and Sweden would face "serious military and political repercussions" if they joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, made the comment during a press conference on Friday, Fox News reported, following the country's attack on Ukraine earlier this week.

"Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences," Zakharova said, in part, at the briefing, according to a video.

In a tweet on Friday, the ministry doubled down on its stance: "We regard the Finnish government's commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe.

"Finland's accession to @NATO would have serious military and political repercussions," the tweet said.

In response during an interview on Saturday with Finnish media, Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said "we've heard this before," according to the Associated Press.

"We don't think that it calls for a military threat," Haavisto said, per the AP. "Should Finland be NATO's external border, it rather means that Russia would certainly take that into account in its own defense planning."

According to the AP, Russia and Finland share a 830-mile land border, which is the longest shared between Russia and any European Union member state.

In Sweden, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said: "I want to be extremely clear. It is Sweden that itself and independently decides on our security policy line," according to the AP report.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, resulting in hundreds of casualties, according to Ukrainian officials. Earlier this week, before the invasion began, President Joe Biden said that the United States will "defend every inch of NATO territory."

"We want to send an unmistakable message that the United States together with our allies will defend every inch of NATO territory and abide by the commitments we made," Biden said during an address on Tuesday.

While neither country is a member of NATO, both Sweden and Finland work closely with it and its member nations, namely the US, Britain, and Norway, according to the AP.

Read the original article on Insider