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Finnish Membership in NATO Seen as Threat to Russia

Finnish membership in NATO would be a direct military threat to Russia, warned the Russian Embassy's Senior Counsellor to Finland, Vladimir Kozin.

In an interview with YLE, Kozin urged Finland to postpone NATO membership for at least 15 years. He added that President Vladimir Putin's term in power could very well last that long. Kozin said Putin could return to the office of president after serving as prime minister.

The Senior Counsellor's statement comes as Finland currently draws up a security policy report. The effects NATO membership would have on Finland are a central part of the report.

Over the past few years, Russia has been increasingly critical of NATO expansion.

Kozin said Russia could not stand by and watch Finland fulfil NATO obligations, including accommodating NATO troops and supporting a nuclear arms agenda.

He emphasized that Russia will not dictate or pressure other countries, but said NATO expansion is a direct threat to Russia. He said this includes Finnish membership in the military alliance.

Both Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Foreign Minister Ilkka Kanerva declined to comment on the matter.

YLE

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