Russia is now threatening Sweden and Finland with military action if they join NATO, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.
During a press conference on Friday, Maria Zakharova addressed the ongoing war with Ukraine, as well as Russia’s path forward. Her remarks included a threat of “serious military-political repercussions” against Sweden and Finland if the two nations seek to join NATO.
“Finland and Sweden should not base their security damaging the security of other countries,” Zakharova said, according to Newsweek translation.
“Clearly [the] accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO, which is first and foremost a military alliance, would have serious military-political repercussions that would demand a response from our country,” she added.
The Russian threat comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked both nations for providing his nation with support.
“Discussed with @niinisto countering the aggressor. Informed about our defense, insidious shelling of Kyiv. Grateful to [Finland] for allocating $50 million aid. It’s an effective contribution to the anti-war coalition. We keep working. We need to increase sanctions & [Ukraine] defense support,” Zelenskyy tweeted.
“Sweden provides military, technical and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Grateful to @SwedishPM for her effective support,” Zelenksyy wrote on Twitter. “Building an anti-Putin coalition together!”
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, accusing Putin of attacking “the entire European security order.”
“I strongly condemn the military measures Russia has started in Ukraine. Russia’s acts target Ukraine, but at the same time they are an attack on the entire European security order. We feel deep compassion towards Ukraine and are seeking ways to increase our support to Ukraine,” Niinistö tweeted.
Sweden’s official Twitter account also posted strong condemnation of Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
“Sweden condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s acts are also an attack on the European security order,” Sweden wrote on Twitter. “It will be met by a united and robust response in solidarity with Ukraine. Russia alone is responsible for human suffering.”
As Russia continues its attacks in Ukraine, ordinary Ukrainian citizens are taking up arms to defend their nation.
According to The Kyiv Independent reporter Illia Ponomarenko, as of Friday afternoon in Ukraine, as many as 18,000 rifles have been handed out to civilian forces.
“18,000 rifles delivered to volunteering street fighters in Kyiv now #BattleofKyiv,” the journalist tweeted.
Shortly after Russia first declared war on Ukraine, Zelenskyy announced that he would arm “anyone who wants to defend the country.”
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities.”