Russia threatens its Arctic close neighbours, Sweden and Finland with “military consequences” if they do not join NATO. 

After a night of intense fighting, Russia invaded Ukraine today. 

Finland and Sweden are close neighbors to Russia within the Arctic Circle. 

“Finland and Sweden shouldn’t base their security upon the safety of other countries. Their accession to NATO could have adverse consequences and face certain military and political consequences,” Maria Zakharova, a foreign affairs spokesperson said at a news briefing. 

Russia has threatened close Arctic neighbours Sweden and Finland with 'military consequences' if they join NATO

Russia threatened its Arctic neighbors Sweden and Finland with “military consequences” if NATO joined them.

Explosions were seen in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv as intense fighting continued across the country

As intense fighting continued throughout Ukraine, explosions could be seen in Kyiv’s capital. 

President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with members of Russian business community in the Moscow Kremlin

Vladimir Putin seen with Russian businessmen in Moscow Kremlin during an interview

President Joe Biden will meet virtually with fellow Nato members on Friday morning to reassure eastern allies they will be protected

To reassure Eastern Allies, President Joe Biden will speak virtually on Friday with NATO members

Later on Twitter, the threat was reiterated by the foreign ministry. 

“We consider the Finnish government’s commitment to a non-alignment military policy an important factor in the ensuring stability and security in northern Europe,” the department said. “Finland’s accession would have severe military and political consequences.” 

It is believed that Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine following western countries’ proposal for the country to join NATO. This was in response to fears of a US military presence at its door.

Sweden and Finland may make similar moves that could provoke similar fury.  

U.S. intelligence officials are worried the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv could fall by Saturday afternoon CNN reported, with Russian troops entering the city in the early hours of Saturday morning local time.  

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, pictured, threatened Finland and Sweden with 'military consequences' Friday if either nation joins Nato

Maria Zakharova (Russian foreign ministry spokesperson), pictured, has threatened Finland and Sweden Friday with’military consequence’ if any country joins NATO. 

Russia shares a substantial border with Finland but only shares a sea border with Sweden

Russia shares an extensive border with Finland. However, Russia only has a shared sea border.

Ukraine leaders are keen to join NATO, but Russia strongly opposes the idea. 

NATO President Joe Biden and NATO have both stated that the United States will defend the alliance of 30 members should the Kremlin attack.       

Biden met virtually with fellow NATO members on Friday morning to reassure eastern allies they will be protected as Russian troops prepared to enter Kyiv. 

Amid reports the Kremlin is gunning for him, Zelensky had slammed the United States and its allies for leaving his country to fight alone. 

«Who would be willing to join us in fighting for our cause? On Thursday night, he stated that he did not see any one. Who is willing to provide Ukraine with a guarantee that it will be able to join NATO? Everybody is scared. 

‘We’re defending our country alone. Zelensky stated that the most powerful nations in the world were watching from afar. 

After the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the 30-nation organization will send parts of the NATO Response Force and elements of a quickly deployable spearhead unit to the alliance´s eastern flank. It´s the first time the force has been used to defend NATO allies. 

“We now deploy the NATO Response Force in a collective defense context for the first-time.” This is about thousands of soldiers. Stoltenberg stated that we are referring to air and maritime capability. 

Ukrainian national guard were forming up on Kyiv's streets Friday as they prepared to defend the city from a Russian assault, shortly before heavy gunfire and explosions were heard

The Ukrainian national guard formed up in Kyiv on Friday to prepare for a Russian attack. This was just before the sound of heavy gunfires and explosions.

A brave Ukrainian citizen has been filmed apparently trying to stop a convoy of Russian Tigr-M fighting vehicles - similar to American Humvees - moving along a highway close to Crimea in scenes reminiscent of Tiananmen Square's 'tank man'

One brave citizen from Ukraine was filmed trying to stop Russian Tigr M fighting vehicles moving on a road close to Crimea. The scenes are reminiscent of Tiananmen Square’s “tank man”.

Russian battle plans to take Kyiv and force an early end to the war in Ukraine have been revealed by US intelligence, who say troops and armour would be used to capture airfields, before a force of 10,000 paratroopers would be flown in to capture the city, round up the government, and force them to sign a peace deal handing control of the country back to Russia

US intelligence revealed Russian battle plans in Ukraine to seize Kyiv, forcing an end to war in Ukraine. US intelligence said that troops and armor would be used for the capture of airfields. Then, a force with 10,000 paratroopers and troops would fly in to capture the city, gather the government and sign a peace treaty handing over control to Russia.

President Joe Biden (upper left) participates in the NATO meeting

Obama (upper left), is a participant in NATO’s meeting

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg convenes leaders for a virtual summit

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gathers top leaders to a virtual summit

A general view of a meeting room during a virtual summit called in by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Brussels, Belgium

General view of the meeting room at a virtual summit, called by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg after Russia launched an extensive military operation against Ukraine in Brussels, Belgium

The Kremlin was willing to send a delegation to Belarus for negotiations with Ukraine, but it had to do so under very strict conditions.

Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) said Russia would send a delegation from Minsk. Peskov made it clear, however that Russia was expecting Ukraine to ‘denazify and demilitarize’ Ukraine. This would mean Kyiv’s surrender.  

As Russian aggression increases, some NATO countries are taking defense measures.

Lithuania declared a state of emergency Thursday after Russian President Vladimir  Putin ordered troops into Ukraine. Lithuania borders Russia´s Kaliningrad region to the southwest. NATO member Belarus lies to the east. Latvia and Poland lie to the north.

“We can’t afford the privilege to be (a] discussion club,” said Gitanas Nausa, Lithuanian president. He spoke at an emergency summit in Brussels of EU leaders. The goal was to place a heavy price on Russia via sanctions. “We must take action.”  

Baltic member states have urged the West to provide weapons, ammunition, and other military support for Ukraine in an urgent manner. This includes economic, financial, and political support as well humanitarian aid.

NATO has been increasing its presence in Northeast Europe since Russia’s 2014 annexe of the Crimean Peninsula. Recenty, NATO members sent aircraft, warships and troops to the Black Sea Region, which is near its allies, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.

NATO activated an emergency plan system in the short-term to enable commanders to quickly move their forces. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that it will send 7,000 troops and 5,000 personnel to Europe.

Independence Square in central Kyiv, Ukraine

Independence Square, Kyiv in Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers take positions in downtown Kyiv

Ukrainian soldiers take up positions in central Kyiv

Servicemen of the Ukrainian National Guard take positions in central Kyiv

The Ukrainian National Guard takes up positions in central Kyiv