- Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
Russia-NATO Row on European Security
Russia proposed draft agreements on security guarantees for NATO and the US in late 2021 requesting the alliance not to expand eastward as Moscow considers such a move a threat to its national security. NATO insists it will not allow its "Open Door" policy to be slammed shut.

Finland Could Provide Financial Aid to Ukraine, Arms Exports 'More Complicated', PM Says

© AP Photo / Christian HartmannFinnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.02.2022
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has voiced a readiness to join western sanctions against Russia, which US and European politicians baselessly accused of harbouring plans to invade Ukraine, even despite the risk of significant collateral damage to Finland's economy as well.
Finland could provide financial aid to Ukraine if it is attacked, the country's Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said. The moment came in her monthly press conference from her official residence arranged by national broadcaster Yle.
She also said that the situation concerning arms exports was "more complicated".
In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that Germany had been blocking Estonia from providing Ukraine with artillery that Berlin initially sold Finland in the 1990s and was later sold to Estonia.
Speaking about the West's allegations of Russia's "imminent invasion" of Ukraine, Marin said that while there is no military threat against Finland, there is "no place for any kind of thinking based on spheres of influence in Europe".

Finland Prepared to Support Sanctions Despite Economic Blowback

Marin additionally said that Finland is ready to support US-backed EU sanctions against Russia, calling them "well-coordinated" measures. Without going into detail, the prime minister said that the sanctions will be both economic and personal.
Marin stressed that the West now stands better prepared than in 2014, when it hit Russia with sanctions following Crimea's reunification with Russia.
Nevertheless, Marin said that possible sanctions on Russia would have a significant impact on the Finnish economy as well, because it was "clear" that Moscow would respond to such measures with counter-sanctions. According to the prime minister, Finland's trade relations with Russia and the effect of likely counter-sanctions have been discussed with the EU, which has acknowledged the nation's special position as Russia's neighbour. Marin even ventured that the responsibility for avoiding sanctions lies with Russia, which can still resolve the situation around Ukraine peacefully.

NATO Application 'Unlikely'

Asked about Finland joining NATO sometime in the future, Marin replied that there are currently no discussions on applying for membership.
Marin stressed that while it is not fully out of the question that Finland could apply during her legislative term, she said it was "unlikely".
The centre-left coalition led by Marin's Social Democrats is poised to be in power until 2023. The opposition liberal-conservative National Coalition Party, which has been leading opinion polls and won recent municipal and regional elections, has traditionally been more pro-NATO.
Nevertheless, Marin emphasised that the decision cannot be influenced by external forces.

Fears of Provocation in NATO-Russia Standoff Over Ukraine

Western and NATO officials and the media began ratcheting up the narrative about Russia's alleged "invasion" plans last autumn, regularly citing the "massing" of Russian troops near the border. Russia has dismissed that it has any plans to invade its neighbour, calling on Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian peace. Moscow even suggested that the West's allegations may be aimed at justifying the further buildup of NATO troops near Russia's borders.
Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov dismissed the West's "invasion" claims and fired back at Washington over "artificially inflating hysteria", while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that the US may be looking for a provocation to spark a conflict in the region.
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