Finland "must be aware of the responsibility and consequences" of joining NATO, Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday, adding that Russia "will be forced" to take retaliatory steps if the country joins the alliance.
“The statement by Finnish President S. Niinistö and Finnish Prime Minister S. Marin, who spoke today in favor of Finland joining NATO, is a radical change in the country's foreign policy," the Russian foreign ministry said, adding "Helsinki must be aware of the responsibility and consequences of such a move."
Finland's possible accession to NATO would cause serious damage to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations, which are maintaining stability and security in the Northern European region, the ministry said.
"Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard," it said.
"Joining NATO will also be a direct violation of Finland's international legal obligations, primarily the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 and the 1992 Treaty between Russia and Finland on the fundamentals of relations,” Russia's foreign ministry said.
Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia.