Russia has urged Finland to avoid deploying NATO troops on its territory after the Nordic country recently joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance.
“We have no conflict with Finland,” EaDaily quoted Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's former ambassador to the EU, as saying on Friday.
“First, they may change their mind and withdraw from NATO. Secondly, they can have their own terms of NATO membership, as the Norwegians did at the time,” he added.
Chizhov is currently a member of the Russian Upper Chamber of Parliament, the Council of Federation.
The senior lawmaker cited the example of Norway, which did not provide its territory for foreign military presence even after joining NATO.
“If Finland undertakes such obligations as a member of NATO, it will be appreciated by the Russian side,” Chizhov said.
Chizhov emphasized that Russia would develop retaliatory measures on the basis of real actions rather than on declarations.
He also pointed out that the NATO-Russia Founding Act (NRFA), which states the non-deployment of nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, is still in force.
On Tuesday, Finland became the 31st member of the NATO military alliance, doubling the length of member states' borders with Russia and bolstering its eastern flank amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Once part of the Russian Empire, Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (830 miles) border with Russia.
Finland’s decision to announce its bid to join the military alliance was triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With this decision, the Nordic country put an end to a decades-long modern history of military non-alignment.
NATO was founded in 1949 as a way for Western powers to respond to the growing influence of the Soviet Union. Under a premise covered by Article 5, an attack on one NATO member state is considered an attack on all others, and each state is obliged to support the other members.
Finland’s full NATO membership designs a new security architecture for the country and the entire military alliance. It paves the way for the military bloc to encircle Saint Petersburg and expand its presence across the strategic Arctic Circle.
Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine sparked global outrage, has long bristled about NATO moving closer to its borders. Officials in Moscow have repeatedly claimed that the deployment of the alliance’s troops threatens stability near the country’s borders and may trigger a strong response from Russia to ensure its security.