The Kremlin has intensified its threatening rhetoric towards Finland following its accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, warned that Finland could be the first to suffer in the event of a confrontation with NATO.
This statement, reported by Russian media, highlights the heightened tensions between Russia and its neighboring countries.
Proximity as a Justification for Threats
Ulyanov's alarming remarks are justified by Finland's geographical proximity to Russia. In an interview with the Russian propaganda outlet RIA Novosti, he commented on Finland's shift from a neutral status to a state perceived as hostile by Moscow after joining NATO this year.
This is reported by English NV.
"They lived peacefully, and suddenly they find themselves between Russia and NATO as a member of this Alliance. But since they are our neighbors, if, God forbid, there is any escalation, they will be the first to suffer," Ulyanov stated.
Controversial Statements from the Russian Diplomat
Ulyanov is known for his sharp statements, especially after the start of Russia's large-scale military aggression against Ukraine. Last year, he publicly urged not to spare Ukrainians on X (Twitter), responding to a post by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanking the United States for a new aid package.
Following this, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian diplomat, emphasizing that Ulyanov's statements were inhumane.
Russia's Threats Towards Finland
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin previously threatened Finland over its NATO accession, stating that he would deploy troops to the Finnish border. On December 27, it was reported that Russia would soon deploy modern howitzers in its Northern Military District, bordering Finland and Norway.
The issue of NATO expansion became relevant after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In April 2023, Finland officially became the 31st member of NATO, while Sweden's membership is currently being blocked by Türkiye.