Putin backtracked on invasion threats in phonemail with Finland chief ‘Didn’t repeat that’

Finland: Putin 'reacted calmly' to NATO says Niinistö

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President of Finland Sauli Niinisto commented on his phone call with Vladimir Putin and revealed the dialogue between the two was surprisingly “calm and cool”. Putin “didn’t repeat” the invasion threats previously made to Finland in response to the country’s intention to officially join NATO and claimed “the actual surprise was that [Putin] took it so calmly”. Despite the collected call with Putin, Mr Niinisto warned Finland needs to keep “follow up what is happening” and be constantly “aware” of the situation.

Mr Niinisto said: “He didn’t repeat those threats that he had made earlier.

“[The threat] that if Finland joins, that would be some kind of military retaliatory steps [from Russia].

“Whatever that means.

“But he didn’t repeat it now.

He explained the reason for the call and said: “In the call, I wanted just to confirm that now the situation has changed.

“We’re going to apply for the membership [to NATO].

“And in the same way [Putin] confirmed that he thinks it is a mistake.

“[Finland is] not threatening you.

“Overall the discussion was calm and cool.

CNN presenter asked: “Did he say anything that surprised you?”

Mr Niinisto responded: “Actually the surprise was that [Putin] took it so calmly.

“But you have to keep in mind that what he said doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware and follow up what is really happening.

“But so far it seems there is no immediate problem coming”.

On Wednesday morning, Finland and Sweden simultaneously handed in their letters of application to join NATO.

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Russia described the Finnish move as “a radical change in the country’s foreign policy.

“Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to neutralise the threats to its national security that arise from this”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, on the other side, welcomed the Finnish and Swedish application and said: “I warmly welcome requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

“You are our closest partners, and your membership in NATO will increase our shared security”.

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