Russia on Monday, 16 May, condemned Finland and Sweden for their decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance, saying that Moscow would take steps in retaliation.
"This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, as per AFP.
Ryabkov added that if Finland and Sweden join NATO, it would lead to a rise in military tensions.
"It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation," he said.
'Sweden, Finland's Security Won't Increase If They Join NATO': Russia
Ryabkov also said that the security of the two countries would not increase as a result of their move. "They should have no illusions that we will just put up with this."
Sweden and Finland are scheduled to join NATO to enhance their defences against possible aggression from Russia. The war in Ukraine has compelled the two countries to shed their decades-long position of military non-alignment vis-a-vis NATO.
Russia, which shares a border with Finland encompassing 1,300 km, said that it would take reciprocal steps in case of such an eventuality.
Finland's President Sauli Niinisto had also spoken to Russian premier Vladimir Putin last week regarding the country's potential membership bid of NATO. Moscow had said that Putin slammed the decision as a "mistake", as per AFP.
Finland had announced its intentions regarding NATO's membership on Sunday, while Sweden said that it would back the former in its bid – which may see the filing of a joint application to join the military alliance.
(With inputs from AFP.)
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)