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NATO does not plan on placing military bases or nuclear weapons on Finland, the country’s prime minister announced Thursday.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement to an Italian newspaper on Thursday, days after Finland formally requested membership in NATO.
“There isn’t even interest [within NATO] to put nuclear weapons or bases in Finland,” Marin told the paper, according to Reuters.
Finland and Sweden filed a joint application to join the alliance this week, and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has said the country does not want NATO nuclear weapons or bases within its territory.
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Russia has previously threatened to place nuclear and hypersonic weapons along its border with Finland should the country join NATO.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, said in April. “Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to. If our hand is forced, well … take note it was not us who proposed this.”
Russia may be taking a softer stance now that Finland’s entry into NATO has become more tangible. Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attempted to brush off the development in a Tuesday statement.
“Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years,” Lavrov said.
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“NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the East. So in this sense there is probably not much difference. Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance,” he added.