Finland informs Putin of its plan to join the Atlantic, and Moscow considers it a "mistake"

 In an attempt to "avoid tension", Finnish President informed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday of his country's imminent candidacy to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which the Russian leader described as a "mistake".

"The conversation was frank, direct and there was no tension. Avoiding tension was considered important. The contact was initiated by Finland," said Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who has been a regular interlocutor with the Russian president in recent years.

Moscow indicated that the Russian President said during the call with his Finnish counterpart that ending Finland's historical military neutrality policy would be "a mistake, since there is no threat to Finland's security."

Finland's President and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Thursday their desire to join the US-led NATO "without delay", with the candidacy expected to be announced on Sunday.

At the same time, the party of the Prime Minister, the Social Democratic Party, announced its support with a wide majority for the request to join the alliance, which will become official on Sunday. According to results announced at a press conference in Helsinki, 53 of the 60 members of the party leadership voted in favor of joining, while five refused and two abstained.

Sweden is also supposed to make a decision in the next few days on whether to submit an application. A meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday in Stockholm is supposed to remove the last obstacle before announcing the application to join.

"We hope to be able to send our nominations with Sweden during the week," Marin confirmed at the press conference. "They have their own procedures, but I hope we make our decisions at once," she added.

The Finnish parliament will meet on Monday, with its 200 deputies likely to vote heavily to submit an application to join the alliance.

Helsinki considers that the invasion of Ukraine, as well as Moscow's demand not to expand NATO, justify changing its position.

Moscow threatened to take "technical - military" measures in response.

These actions may be started. As announced Friday, electricity supplies from Russia to Finland stopped Friday night, Saturday, following an announcement in this regard by the Russian supplier, an official in the Finnish electricity network told AFP on Saturday.

Timo Kokkonen, an official at the electric grid operator Vingrid, confirmed to AFP that exports from Russia to Finland are "currently at zero".

The company "Raw Nordic", a subsidiary of the Russian group "Intrao" in Helsinki, stated that the reason for the suspension was related to unpaid bills that were observed a week ago, and did not specify the exact reasons for this.

Helsinki stressed that the Scandinavian country "wants to deal with the practical issues of being a neighboring country to Russia in a correct and professional manner."

Finland, which is separated by a 1,300 km border from Russia and has a painful past, said it expected measures such as cyber attacks or border breaches.

In addition to the Russian refusal, Sweden and Finland's march towards NATO faltered, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected their joining the alliance, which currently includes thirty members, including Turkey.

And the Turkish president blames these two countries for turning them into a "hotel of Kurdistan Workers' Party terrorists", which Ankara, along with the European Union and the United States, considers a terrorist organization.

Since consensus is required, Ankara finds itself in a position to derail the process, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he expects the two Scandinavian countries to be accepted "by the embrace".

On Saturday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed his confidence in the possibility of an understanding with Turkey, and said after holding a series of consultations with NATO members, including Turkey, in Berlin that he was "confident that we will find a solution in the end, and that Finland and Sweden will become members of NATO."

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said before a NATO meeting in the German capital in which his Finnish and Swedish counterparts will participate that "the vast majority of the Turkish people are against the accession of these two countries that support the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party, and they ask us to block this accession."

"But they are issues that we must certainly discuss with our NATO allies, as well as with the two countries" concerned, he added.
Stockholm and Helsinki acknowledged that they had not noticed any indications of Turkish objection.
"It is better that we deal with the matter calmly. So far, Turkey's message to us has been exactly the opposite," Niinistö said Saturday in an interview with Finnish channel "Eli". 

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