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"Grave mistake with far-reaching consequences": Russia on new NATO members

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Grave mistake with far-reaching consequences: Russia on new NATO members
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After Finland and Sweden announced intentions to join the NATO military alliance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it is another "grave mistake with far-reaching consequences".

He added that the alliance is a serious mistake and Moscow will take measures. "The general level of military tensions will increase. The two countries' security would not strengthen as a result of the move. They should have no illusions that Russia will just put up with this," reported AFP.

The Russian official said the European nations' move is against common sense. He stated that it is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation.

Finland has also been warned that Moscow will take reciprocal steps. Russia shares a 1,3000 km border with the country. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday about the move. Putin viewed any end to Finland's military neutrality as a mistake, said the Kremlin.

The European nations are applying for a NATO membership due to feared aggression from Russia. Both Finland and Sweden share borders with Russia and have been involved in conflicts over centuries. The Ukraine war has changed defence strategies of both nations as both are ramping up their defence budget.

Finland was only declared independent in 1917 after being ruled by Moscow for over a century. The small country had already ceded 9% of its territory to the Soviet Union in 1940 after a three-month-long war. The Soviet Union had demanded Finland's territories claiming security reasons including the protection of St. Petersburg, the second-largest city in Russia.

The treaty did not hold as Finland and Germany attacked the Soviet Union as part of World War II. Even after losing, Finland managed to retain its independence, unlike other German allies which were annexed by the Soviets.

If Finland and Sweden join NATO, it will give Europe's security map advantage in the East. The application process of Finland and Sweden can take up to a year to complete as all 30 existing NATO members have to approve new members.

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has already raised unexpected objections and called the joint application "unacceptable and outrageous". NATO's deputy chief Mircea Geoana said Ankara's concerns will be addressed and Turkey is an important ally. He added that he is confident that NATO can quickly overcome the objections, reported Reuters.

Finland and Sweden have asked for protection until they become full members. The US, Germany, and the UK have already offered support if the Scandinavian nations come under attack.

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