Finland sees no direct military threats from Russia: Ambassador to NATO
Finland does not see any direct military threats posed against it by Russia at the moment, Finnish Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen told CNN.
On Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that the country "must apply to join NATO without delay." Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto later specified that Finland may apply for NATO membership in the middle of next week if the parliament makes its decision by then.
There is no "direct military threats against Finland" or any "irregular activity" displayed by Russia, the envoy was quoted as saying in the interview out Thursday.
Finland remains alert, however, and expects Russia to resort to "cyber harassment" and "disinformation campaigns," Korhonen said.
The envoy said that in making the decision to request NATO membership, Helsinki was driven by a "very drastic change in our security environment" following Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian crisis has spurred an extensive debate in both Finland and Sweden on abandoning decades of neutrality and joining NATO amid a shifting security situation in Europe. In March, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance will fast-track the membership applications of Finland and Sweden if they decide to join.
On Thursday, both Finland and Sweden officially confirmed their plans to join the alliance. The United States and Germany have already pledged support to the Nordic states if they choose to apply.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Finland's statement is "a radical change in the country's foreign policy" and Moscow will be forced "to take retaliatory steps of a military-technical or other nature.