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Russia Warns Of ‘A New Iron Curtain’ After Finland Declared It Wants To Join NATO ‘Without Delay’ Over Putin’s Ukraine Invasion

Russian state TV has accused the US of erecting a ‘new iron curtain’ in Europe in a furious response to Finland announcing its intention to join NATO.

This morning, president Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin said they want to join the security alliance ‘without delay’, with Sweden set to follow suit within days, drastically ramping up tensions between Russia and the West. 

The Kremlin had previously threatened it would secure ‘the entire destruction’ of the country and ‘the most undesirable consequences’, and today said it would ‘be forced to take retaliatory steps’.

The decision is a spectacular backfire for Putin who invaded Ukraine in part through fears of NATO expansion, with the Western pact’s presence on Russia’s borders now set to double from 754 miles to 1,584 miles.

When asked what he would say to Russia, Niinisto replied: ‘You caused this. Look in the mirror.’ 

After the announcement, Russian state TV’s Olga Skabeyeva said: ‘The main beneficiary here is America and Biden. And the main aim is a new iron curtain from the Barents to the Black Sea.’

Meanwhile Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move was ‘definitely’ a threat to Russia and warned it would make Europe more unstable. 

He said Finland had made ‘unfriendly steps’ against Russia and it was a cause for regret and a reason to impose a symmetrical response. 

Asked whether this presented a threat to Russia, Peskov said: ‘Definitely. NATO expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.’

Sweden is expected to follow Finland with its own bid which could come as soon as next week, with a parliament debate on Monday followed by a special cabinet meeting where the formal decision to apply will be taken, Daily Expressen said.

The major policy shift was announced today in a joint statement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured) today

The major policy shift was announced today in a joint statement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured) today

President Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin released the anticipated statement this morning

President Sauli Niinisto and prime minister Sanna Marin released the anticipated statement this morning

Russian state TV has accused the US of erecting a 'new iron curtain' in Europe in response to the decision

Russian state TV has accused the US of erecting a ‘new iron curtain’ in Europe in response to the decision

Finland, which shares an 830-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, has previously remained outside NATO

Finland, which shares an 830-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, has previously remained outside NATO

A special committee will announce Finland’s decision on a membership bid on Sunday although it could take until October before the country is formally admitted to the pact.

The major policy shift which completely rewrites Europe’s post WWII alignment comes a day after Boris Johnson signed security pacts with Helsinki and Stockholm pledging Britain would come to their aid if they come under Russian attack. 

In their statement today, Niinisto and Marin said: ‘Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties. 

‘NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance.

‘Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.

‘We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.’

Finland, which shares an 830-mile border and a difficult past with Russia, has previously remained outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbour.

Earlier this morning, former prime minister Alexander Stubb said: ‘I have been waiting for this day for 30 years.

‘Announcement on Finnish NATO membership imminent.’

Sweden is expected to imminently follow Finland with an application to join the Western military pact.

The Nordic nations have been rattled by Moscow’s war against its pro-Western neighbour, which has bolstered domestic support for joining the alliance – and the security that membership would provide.

After today’s announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the eventual membership process would be ‘smooth and swift’.

‘This is a sovereign decision by Finland, which NATO fully respects. Should Finland decide to apply, they would be warmly welcomed into NATO,’ Stoltenberg said.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also said he will push for a quick admission process.

‘Denmark will of course warmly welcome Finland to NATO. (It) will strengthen NATO and our common security,’ Frederiksen said on Twitter. ‘Denmark will do everything for a quick admission process after the formal application.’

Meanwhile Volodymyr Zelensky ‘commended’ Finland’s readiness to apply to join the NATO alliance in a phone call with Niinisto.

‘We also discussed Ukraine’s European integration. And – defence interaction,’ he wrote on Twitter.

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