Finland says it will join NATO, in spite of Russia’s protest that NATO shouldn’t be expanded further to the east.
Sauli Niinisto was the president of the Nordic countries and made the comment on Saturday during the New Year’s address. This seemed intended to make fun of Vladimir Putin.
Putin previously requested that Ukraine not be permitted to join NATO. This was because he believes the NATO expansion to Ukraine is an attack on his borders.
This prompted Niinisto to make the remark. It appears that this was intended as an alert to Russia to not threaten neighboring countries.
According to Finland’s president, Finland can request membership in NATO. This is despite a warning by Vladimir Putin, that NATO should be restricted from expanding further east.
The Finnish president, Sauli Niinisto made this observation during his New Year’s address. He also called on the EU to be more aggressive in its response to Russia’s threats against member countries.
Finland has long-standing land borders with Russia. Between 1939-1940, the two countries engaged in a bloody civil war that saw heavy losses to Soviet forces.
‘Finland’s room to manoeuvre and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military alignment and of applying for NATO membership, should we ourselves so decide,’ Mr Niinisto said.
His call to the EU for a stronger role in the deterring of Russian aggression was also made. It is apparent that this is an apparent rebuke against Germany, which over years has maintained a soft line towards Moscow due to close economic ties.
‘In this situation Europe cannot just listen in,’ Niinisto added.
“The Union has challenged the sovereignty of many member countries, including Sweden and Finland.
“This means that the EU is an active party.” “The EU cannot settle for merely playing the technical coordination of sanctions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was the successor to Angela Merkel and took a much more relaxed line towards Russia in his own speech.
“We face new problems regarding Ukraine at the moment.” He said that the inviolability and security of borders are precious, which is why it isn’t negotiable. However, he did not specify what sanctions Russia would face for violating those borders.
Between 1939-1940, Russia and Finland fought an extremely brief and bloody conflict over their common border. During this war, Finland suffered heavy losses to the Soviets.
Putin demanded concrete guarantees from Ukraine that it is not allowed to join NATO. He claimed the NATO expansion was a threat to Moscow.
This comes amid tensions at the Ukraine-Russia border after Putin left 100,000 soldiers, tanks, and artillery pieces along his border, in an attempt to create what the Pentagon considers an invasion force.
This was denied by the Kremlin, who claimed that troops were there to stop western aggression and pointed to nearby military drills.
Joe Biden called Putin two times to discuss the crisis. White House said that Biden warned Putin of economic sanctions and threatened economic invasion.
Over a Moscow-published list of “red lines”, high level talks are taking place among American and Russian diplomats.
Moscow wants NATO expansion to be stopped. Moscow also demands the withdrawal and re-instatement of all offensive forces in former Soviet states.
NATO has called this position a nonstarter and said that it is encouraging member states to seek compromise.
The decision comes after America permitted a variety of Cold War-era arms controls treaties to expire, including the Intermediate Range Forces Treaty. It said they no longer served their purpose as they did not include China.
Another nuclear force treaty New START was due to expire, but has received a temporary extension until 2026.
Putin has been lobbying to replace the lost arms control agreements among the superpowers of the world and lamented their loss.
Nevertheless, Chinese think tanks have admitted that an arms control agreement that includes Beijing was in the works. However they are not revealing what format it would take nor when it could be signed.
Russia currently maintains around 100,000 troops at its border with Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that this constitutes an invasion force.
Ukraine wants its western allies (pictured: Russian troops in camp), to send reinforcements. They warn that they will not be able to resist a Russian attack.
Russian troops near the border have large quantities of artillery and tanks that Washington worries could be used to launch a quick attack (pictured).
All three superpowers have been increasing their military might and taking a more aggressive stance on international stage.
Apart from Putin’s massing of his troops in Eastern Europe, Xi Jinping is menacing Taiwan – threatening forcefully to’reunify it’ with the mainland.
America is now looking for new partners in the region. It has also begun to share nuclear technology with them, like the AUKUS agreement that will ship nuclear submarines Australia to Australia and the Quad accord with India and Japan.
But, in a piece of good news that emerged on Monday, five major world powers – the US, China, Russia, France and the UK – issued a new pledge to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to avoid using them in conflict.
On Monday, the rarest joint statement came before a review later this year of a crucial nuclear treaty.
“We strongly believe that the further spreading of such weapons should be stopped,” said China, France and Russia permanent UN Security Council members. They also added: “A nuclear war can’t be won, and must not be fought.”
This statement was made after the last review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, (NPT), which was first entered into force in 1970, was delayed from January 4th to February 9th due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The five major world powers disregarded current tensions that are causing significant tensions between Russia and China, and said that they see ‘the prevention of war between nuclear-weapon state and the reduction strategic risks as our primary responsibilities’
According to English translations released by White House, they stated that “As nuclear usage would have far-reaching implications”, they also said that they believed nuclear weapons should be used to prevent war and deter aggression.
“We all intend to continue and increase our national efforts to stop the accidental or unauthorised use of nukes,” said one power.