Russia’s ambassador to the EU has said there will be a ‘military and technical’ response to Finland joining NATO.
Vladimir Chizhov said the country would become a ‘NATO backwater’ – whatever that means – if it did decide to join the military alliance.
If one country in the organisation is attacked, all other members are committed to joining its defence.
In an interview with Sky News Chizhov said he is ‘deeply disappointed and saddened’ by Finland’s application to join NATO.
He said the country has been ‘pushing above its weight, having become in the last few decades a major power in promoting European security architecture’.
Earlier, the Kremlin said the nation’s bid to join NATO is ‘definitely’ a threat to Russia which would be met with ‘retaliatory steps’.
If it did join, it said it would have to bolster its forces in the Baltic Sea, raising the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in the area.
Finland’s president and prime minister said today their country must apply to join the alliance ‘without delay’ in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden, which has close historic and military ties with its Nordic neighbour, is expected to announce it too will apply for membership within days.
Yesterday Boris Johnson said the UK ‘will not hesitate’ to act after signing a historic agreement with Sweden to defend against any threat from Putin.
He then travelled to Finland and pledged the same level of support should the nation come under attack.
Finnish president Sauli Niinisto, said Moscow only had itself to blame for his country’s decision to join NATO.
The Finnish head of state said Moscow could only blame itself should his nation of 5.5 million become a NATO member.
He said: ‘You caused this. Look at the mirror. So in my thinking, this is quite simple, actually.
‘We increase our security and we do not take it away from anybody. It is not a zero-sum game.’