Finnish minister: Russia has not positioned troops on Finnish border yet

Elina Valtonen.
Elina Valtonen. Source: Egert Kamenik/Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russia has not acted on its threat to position troops at its border with Finland following the Scandinavian country's NATO accession, Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said Tuesday.

Finland has a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia. The country's membership in NATO has effectively doubled the U.S. led alliance's border with the Russian Federation. The latter described Finland joining NATO as an "attack on its security" and promised to take tactical and strategic countermeasures.

"Russia announced military reforms and new units to be created in Northwestern Russia last December, pointing to NATO expansion," Valtonen said Tuesday.

"It seems these efforts have not come along. Russia's resources seem to be tied down elsewhere today," the minister remarked.

"The situation on the eastern border remains calm," Valtonen added.

The Kremlin's attack on Ukraine has altered the European security situation, pushing Finland to abandon its decades-long policy of neutrality and join NATO.

Finland is in the process of erecting a fence along 200 kilometers of its border with Russia, which is estimated to be completed in 2026.

The Finnish border is currently outfitted with light-colored wooden fences meant to keep livestock from wandering across.

Russia repeated its threat on August 9 when it accused both Finland and Poland of threatening its security and vowed to react to the "multiplication of threats" on its western border.

Poland has ramped up security near its borders with Moscow ally Belarus.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a recent meeting with top military officials that threats Russia faces have multiplied on the western and northwestern strategic headings.

These risks "require timely and proportional reaction," Shoigu added.

Elina Valtonen said that Finland has "always been well-prepared for various situations. Including this one."

"NATO is a defensive alliance and no more a threat to Russia than Finland. Russia's criticism of NATO is a long-maintained position and constitutes nothing new," the Finnish minister said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

Source: BNS

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