Vladimir Putin told the President of Finland he is making a ‘mistake’ by joining NATO as it faces ‘no security threats’ in a phone call this morning.
And in a speech on the 80th day of the war in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: ‘The collective West has announced a total hybrid war on us.
‘It is difficult to forecast how long this will all last, but it is clear that the consequences will be felt by everybody without exception.’
Finland and Sweden’s efforts to join NATO met a hurdle when Turkish President Erdogan said he could not support their entry bids because of Kurdish terrorist organisations operating in the Nordic countries.
All 30 NATO member states must sign off on each new entrant.
Erdogan’s top foreign policy advisor clarified today that the country is ‘not closing the door’ on the countries’ bids.
Ibrahim Kalin: ‘We are not closing the door. But we are basically raising this issue as a matter of national security for Turkey.’
The Kremlin attack dog added: ‘We’ve done everything to avoid a direct clash but the challenge has been thrown to us and we accept it. Cancel culture against everything Russia is being used against us.’
‘We are doing everything we can to defend the interests of our citizens abroad. Ukraine is an instrument, a tool, to contain Russia’s peaceful development,’ he said.
As US President Joe Biden held a joint call with Finland’s leaders on Friday to support their NATO application, Russian officials responded with furious bluster, with one threatening to reduce the US to ‘nuclear ashes’ if America ‘threatens’ the Russian state.
The West is opposing Russia to the last Ukrainian, especially the United States which is [fighting] from beyond the ocean,’ said Lavrov.
‘Now [Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg, through the mouth of Liz Truss, say NATO has responsibility for global security issues.’
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said his conversation with Putin was ‘conducted without aggravations’ as both parties worked to ‘avoid tensions’.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and cyber-attacks on Finland and Sweden have ‘altered the security environment’ in Helsinki, Putin was told.
According to a Russian readout of the call, Putin said: ‘Abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake, since there are no threats to Finland’s security.’
It wasn’t revealed how long the call went on or whether Niinisto had consulted other world leaders before speaking to Putin.
A senior Putin ally threatened to fire nuclear weapons at Britain, claiming it would take just three minutes.
Finland, whose President today called Putin to reveal his plans to join NATO, would be wiped out in seconds, Duma defence committee deputy chairman Aleksey Zhuravlyov boasted.
Zhuravlyov’s wild threats signal frustrations at Putin’s faltering invasion of Ukraine – and ire at Finland’s NATO bid.
The news came as Russia cut off electricity supplies to Finland this morning. The Nordic country imports ten per cent of its electricity from Russia.
President Sauli Niinistö phoned Putin this morning to discuss his country’s plans to join NATO, he said.
A readout from the Finnish president’s office stated: ‘President Niinistö told President Putin how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining NATO and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland.
‘President Niinistö noted that he had told President Putin already in their first meeting in 2012 that every independent nation maximizes its security. This is what is happening now,
Mr Niinistö added: ‘The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important.’
Russian power flows to Finland stopped as the state-owned importer has not received payments.
RAO Nordic had warned on Friday: ‘Unfortunately, we are forced to note that for the volumes which have been sold on Nord Pool exchange since May 6 funds have not yet been credited to our bank account.’
There’s enough electricity in Finland even without imports from Russia, according to Fingrid Oy, which operates the country’s transmission system.
Those flows have recently accounted for around ten per cent of consumption, it said in a statement.
Zhuravlyov told Russian state media: ‘If Finland wants to join this bloc, then our goal is absolutely legitimate – to question the existence of this state. This is logical.
If the United States threatens our state, it’s good: here is the Sarmat [Satan-2 missile] for you, and there will be nuclear ashes from you if you think that Russia should not exist.
‘And Finland says that it is at one with the USA. Well, get in line.
‘The Finns in general should be grateful to Russia for their statehood, for the fact that Finland exists as a country.’
Asked if Russia would now rebase nuclear weapons onto its border with Finland, he said: ‘What for? We don’t need to.
‘We can hit with a Sarmat from Siberia, and even reach the UK.
‘And if we strike from Kaliningrad… the hypersonic’s reaching time is 200 seconds – so go ahead, guys.
‘On the Finnish border we will have not strategic weapons, but Kinzhal-class, one that will reach Finland in 20 seconds, or even 10 seconds.’
He said Russia would massively strengthen its military forces on its western flank.
And this must be taken into account, without a doubt.’
He claimed Finland is being provoked into joining NATO by the US and Britain.
‘The Finns have nothing to share with us. They receive more than 90 per cent gas, timber and much more from us.
‘Who needs fighting first of all? The Finns? They are not afraid that Russia is attacking them. ‘Of course, sooner or later the Americans will force them to do so.
‘Just as they forced Ukraine to do it, they are trying to force Poland and Romania. And, as practice shows, they succeed.
‘It is impossible to say that Finland will join NATO and behave towards us as before – this will not happen. The Americans will incite them to provocations.
‘We endure for a long time. But this cannot go on forever.’
Reflecting a view among hardliners around Vladimir Putin he said: ‘The United States will do everything possible to make World War III happen.
‘Just not on their territory.
‘They will try not to lead to nuclear strikes, but they will try to draw the whole of Europe into a conflict with Russia, inflame the situation in Asia, [and] set fire to as many countries as possible .
‘For them this will be a very good way out of the internal economic crisis.
They will be able to attribute all their problems to the war, as they already did in the First World War and the Second World War.
‘They got out of their crisis only thanks to the war in Europe. But there is a big danger: who guarantees that nuclear missiles will not fly? I do not guarantee this.’
Asked by Ura news outlet if Russia could strike first with nuclear weapons, he replied: ‘Certainly.’
Asked under what conditions, he replied this would happen if the existence of Russia was threatened.
Finland and Sweden were now ‘joining an Alliance that wants to destroy Russia. Therefore, we want to destroy them in response.’
Asked about Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, he said Russia would crush them when necessary.
‘We are definitely not afraid of these peanuts,’ he said.
‘They are as nasty as stink bugs. But they will need to be crushed when necessary. Now the bug is small and smelly.
They would have put forward territorial claims against us, as Estonia wanted to do. Well, try it. They follow exactly the same path as Ukraine. Let’s see where it takes them.’
He claimed that St Petersburg – Putin’s birthplace – could be NATO’s first target in a war with Russia.
‘This is the main goal [in this direction]. This is beyond any doubt,’ he said.
‘The question is different. Today we are conducting a special operation, saving every life of the civilian population, and the Ukrainian Nazis, on the contrary, because these are not their people, and for them the more victims, the better.
‘If the Finns want to destroy a certain part of our population, if they strike at St. Petersburg, this threatens to destroy all of Finland as a state. Well, how else? ‘How can a normal person perceive this: you have destroyed a little bit – we have a little bit? No, it won’t.’