The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russia was not a threat to Finland, before the Finnish President’s visit to Turkey, which is expected to approve Helsinki’s candidacy for NATO.
Finland and Sweden abandoned decades-long policies of military non-alignment and asked to join the Western alliance last May following Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
“We have repeatedly expressed our regret at Finland’s and Sweden’s move towards membership and have repeatedly stated that Russia does not pose a threat to these countries,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“We have no dispute with these countries… They never threatened us and, logically, we did not threaten them,” Peskov said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suspended negotiations with Sweden but seems ready to ratify Finland’s membership.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Turkey had made a decision on whether to ratify his country’s NATO bid and said he would travel to Istanbul this week to hear it from Erdogan.
Turkey and Hungary are the only countries that have yet to ratify the country demands, which must be accepted by the alliance’s 30 existing members.
Russia views NATO enlargement as an existential threat to its security and has used Ukraine’s desire to join the alliance to justify the offensive.