Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen

From YLE:  According to Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, Finnish NATO membership would not threaten Russian security. Katainen entered the debate during his visit to Washington DC.

”Finland is a free country,” said the PM. ”Both Finns and foreign guests can speak quite freely in our country, but Finland will make decisions on own own defence and security based on our own basis.”

In Katainen’s opinion it would be strange to think that Finland or other Nordic countries’ co-operation with Nato could be a threat to Russia. . . .

"Finns will take responsibility for their own security. . . ."

Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a global security researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told AFP that Makarov’s comments could be seen as a tightening of Russian policy towards its western neighbour.            

"Makarov’s comments should be taken seriously. His comments have political significance," said the academic. . . .

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, meanwhile, took a relaxed view of the matter. The Foreign Minister wrote on Facebook that Makarov was not the only general living in the times of the cold war, and neither was Russia the only country where such generals could be found.

He also said that no other Russian officials had expressed views similar to Makarov’s.

In his opinion, such speeches ‘from a time machine’ should no longer be heard from politically responsible Russian leaders.

From YLENATO: Finnish co-operation ’threatens nobody’

The NATO military alliance has denied claims from the head of Russia’s armed forces that Finnish-Nato co-operation is a threat to Russia.

NATO said in a statement that claims Finnish co-operation is a threat are baseless. It went on to say that Finland is a long-standing and valued NATO partner, citing Finnish contributions to NATO missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo as helping to create stability.  (photo: YLE)