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Putin warns Finland over joining NATO: it would be last Mistake

More on that phone call from Finland’s president to Vladimir Putin, telling the Russian president about plans to join Nato.

Russian media are reporting Putin’s side of the conversation.

He told Sauli Niinistö there were currently no threats to Finland’s security, and that Finland abandoning its long-standing neutral status would be a mistake.

The change would damage relations between the two countries “which for many years have been built in the spirit of good neighbourliness and partnership cooperation, and were mutually beneficial”.

Moscow described the conversation as a “a frank exchange of views”.

The Finnish president called his Rusian counterpart Vladimir Putin today to tell him Finland would apply for Nato membership in the next few days.

In a statement, Sauli Niinistö said he told Putin how recent moves by Russia, along with the invasion of Ukraine, “have altered the security environment of Finland”.

“The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” Niinistö says.

Russia has long threatened consequences if its nearby neighbours join Nato, a Western military alliance founded in part to ward off threat from the Soviet Union in 1949.

But Niinistö and the country’s prime minister both called for Finland to join on Thursday, and Sweden is widely expected to follow suit in the next few days.

Some of the world’s most powerful industrialised nations – the Group of Seven – have declared they will never recognise new borders as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We will never recognise borders Russia has attempted to change by military aggression, and will uphold our engagement in the support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea, and all states,” the G7 said in a statement after a meeting of their foreign ministers.

The statement also says the G7 will expand sanctions and keep supplying Ukraine with weapons, AFP reports.

The G7 are: Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. The EU also has a seat at the table, but is not counted in the seven.

Russia used to be involved, but was expelled over the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

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