Finnish Chief of Defence Timo Kivinen has warned Russia that his country has been preparing for decades for a possible attack and Russia would meet stiff resistance should an attack occur.
General Kivinen made his remarks during an interview earlier this week saying: “The most important line of defence is between one’s ears, as the war in Ukraine proves at the moment.” He went on to note that Finland has prepared defences for a possible Russian attack for decades.
“We have systematically developed our military defence precisely for this type of warfare that is being waged there (in Ukraine), with a massive use of firepower, armoured forces and also airforces,” Kivinen said, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports.
While Russia has pushed back against Finland’s application to join the NATO military alliance, alongside Sweden, in recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also claimed he did not see the two countries joining NATO as a threat last month.
“As to enlargement, Russia has no problem with these states – none. And so in this sense, there is no immediate threat to Russia from an expansion (of NATO) to include these countries,” Putin said and added, “But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response.”
The Finnish government is developing various legislative policies and amendments to be able to handle a possible surge of illegal immigrants and close the border with Russia while suspending asylum applications.
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The situation in the Baltic region has changed in recent days, however, after Lithuania announced it would be blocking sanctioned goods from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which has no land border with Russia.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis justified the blockade, which began last Saturday, saying, “Lithuania is doing nothing here. These are European sanctions, which entered into force on 17 June.”
“We consider provocative measures of the Lithuanian side which violate Lithuania’s international legal obligations, primarily the 2002 Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the European Union on transit between the Kaliningrad region and the rest of the Russian Federation, to be openly hostile,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response.