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Finland first to suffer if Russia-NATO tensions escalate- Russian diplomat

Finland will be the first country to suffer in the event of an escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO due to its proximity to the former

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Russia warned Finland this month over a new defence agreement granting the United States broad access to the vicinity of the Finnish border with Russia.
Russia warned Finland this month over a new defence agreement granting the United States broad access to the vicinity of the Finnish border with Russia.

Finland will be the first country to suffer in the event of an escalation of tensions between Russia and NATO due to its proximity to the former, the RIA news agency cited a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Thursday.

Finland joined NATO this year after maintaining a neutral status for decades, a move which Russia says turned Helsinki into a hostile actor in its view.

“They had lived calmly and in peace and suddenly ended up between Russia and NATO as a member of that alliance, but since they are our neighbours, if, God forbid there is some escalation, they will be the first to suffer,” Mikhail Ulyanov, permanent representative of Russia to international organisations in Vienna, told RIA.

Russia warned Finland this month over a new defence agreement granting the United States broad access to the vicinity of the Finnish border with Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia will soon deploy its newest howitzers to its Northern Military District, which borders Finland and Norway, the head of the Rostec state defence conglomerate said in remarks published on Wednesday.

The testing of the new Coalition-SV self-propelled artillery units has been completed, and their mass production has already started, Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec, told the state RIA news agency in an interview.

He said the first pilot batch will be delivered by the end of 2023.

“I think they will appear there (in the Northern Military District) soon since howitzers of this class are needed to provide an advantage over Western artillery models in terms of firing range,” Chemezov said.

Following a bombardment from Russian drones on Tuesday and Thursday, Ukraine’s air defence systems shot down seven out of eight Russia-launched Shahed drones overnight, the country’s air force said on Thursday.

Drones were downed in three central and southern regions, the air force said on the Telegram messenger. It was not clear whether the drone that was not shot down reached its target.

The Russian Defence Ministry also said it thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack over Moscow-occupied Crimea overnight.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

*first published in: Euractiv.com

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