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Russia Ukraine conflict

Putin was ‘calm, cool’ when Finland informed him of application for NATO membership

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Russian President Vladimir Putin was “calm and cool” when informed of Finland’s decision to apply for NATO membership, the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told CNN on Sunday.

“Actually, the surprise was that he took it so calmly. But in security policy, especially talking with Russia, you have to keep in mind that what he said doesn't mean that you shouldn't be all the time quite well aware,” Niinisto told CNN in an interview.

He added: “But so far, it seems that there's no immediate problems coming.”

The Finnish President said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine showed that Moscow was ready to attack an independent neighboring country.

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However, while Niinisto doesn’t believe that Russia could attack Finland now or in the future, he said that the “divided political landscape of Europe and the world does not leave much room for the non-aligned.”

Finland, which remained militarily non-aligned for 75 years, shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly warned of consequences if Helsinki joins NATO. The Kremlin said on Saturday that Putin saw Finland’s NATO membership as a “mistake.”

Finland and Sweden are expected to obtain NATO membership as Russia’s war on Ukraine changed the strategy of the typically neutral countries, prompting them to seek security by joining the Western military alliance.

Read more:

Explainer: ‘Neutral’ Europe recedes as NATO set to expand

US Secretary of State Blinken voices confidence on Sweden, Finland NATO bids

NATO expects Turkey not to hold up Finland, Sweden membership bids

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