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In a chilling speech made at the same time that Russian forces are waging aggression against the Ukraine, the spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry conveyed the threat towards two European countries considering NATO membership.
Russian Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova warned Swedish and Finnish leaders that they will be forced to deal with severe “military and political consequences that would require our country to take reciprocal steps”, BBC reported quoting Russian news agencies.
BREAKING: Russia warned Finland and Sweden will face “severe military and political consequences” if they attempt to join NATO: FMpic.twitter.com/WRS3hHDrEp
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) February 25, 2022
“We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe,” said Zakharova, according to The Business Standard.
“All countries are free to choose their foreign policies and alliances,” says EU’s Borrell about Russia threatening military consequences if Finland and Sweden join NATO.
As a result of Zakharova’s remarks, the question arises of whether Russia will undertake a similar attack against Finland and Sweden as it has done against Ukraine.
While Finland cooperates with the security alliance in some matters, and is attending Friday’s meeting of the body in Brussels, it has not formally joined the bloc.
Last month, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said it was “very unlikely” that Finland would apply for Nato membership during her term in office.
The NATO conference scheduled for Friday will see representatives of Sweden and Finland in attendance, the latest indication that the policymakers of the northern European countries have become more inclined to consider joining the alliance.
🚨 Non-Nato members Sweden and Finland will attend tomorrow's Nato summit according to @jensstoltenberg
— Shona Murray (@ShonaMurray_) February 24, 2022
There have long been repeated calls from Russia for its neighbors to be permanently prohibited from joining NATO, despite the wishes of the people of these countries that live there.
In a tweet, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the arrogant threat.
💬#Zakharova: We regard the Finnish government’s commitment to a military non-alignment policy as an important factor in ensuring security and stability in northern Europe.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) February 25, 2022
There is a tenuous relationship between Finland and Russia, as the country has fought an invasion from the Soviet Union during the 1939 Winter War.
Statista reports that Finland’s military spending amounts to 1.99 percent of its GDP.
As part of the NATO alliance, members are required to spend at least 2% of their gross national product on military expenditures, a condition that European NATO members often ignore.
Finland already meets nearly all of the requirements to join the alliance.
The member countries of NATO are required to defend other member nations in the event of an attack against them.
The Ukrainian government has requested a timeline for joining the alliance. The country is not a member of NATO, therefore it is not entitled to receive military assistance from some of the world’s largest countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
While Russia may be determined to prevent its neighbors from joining NATO, it is likely that its war of aggression will further push them closer to the western alliance.
Meanwhile, Putin just woke a sleeping giant who has launched war against Russia.
As a result of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the hacker group Anonymous has declared ‘cyber war’ against his government.
On Thursday evening, the elusive computer experts posted a message on their Twitter account.
They announced shortly before 10 p.m.: ‘The Anonymous collective is officially in cyber war against the Russian government.’
— Anonymous (@YourAnonOne) February 24, 2022
Within 30 minutes, they announced that RT’s news website had been taken down, a channel backed by the Kremlin that broadcasts in Britain and has been heavily criticized.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonOne) February 24, 2022
The site was still inaccessible this morning, and only displayed a message that said, ‘this site can’t be reached’.
In a tweet, Anonymous said about RT: ‘The #Anonymous collective has taken down the website of the #Russian propaganda station RT News.’
Anonymous also said that they had taken down the Russian Ministry of Defense website as well as the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS Russia) site.
In the past, Anonymous has targeted groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Islamic extremists.
Members are referred to as ‘Anons,’ and they wear Guy Fawkes masks.
Tesla founder Elon Musk was warned by the collective that they plan to target him last year after he wields too much influence over cryptocurrency exchanges.
There is a risk that Russia could be targeted for systematic hacking attempts in the coming days following the cyberwar declaration.
Several days before the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, Ukraine’s government and banks were attacked by a massive cyberattack believed to be initiated by Russia.
Twitter users reacted positively to Anonymous’ cyberwar declaration against Putin.
One Twitter user responded: ‘Once again, Anonymous are the heroes this world often doesn’t deserve, but needs.’
Another said: ‘You re amazing, carry on and stay safe!!’
Hackers associated with the group have appeared to be targeting governments around the world in response to policies they disagree with.
As a result of the group’s hacking campaigns against government agencies, child pornography sites, and the Klu Klux Klan, they are seen as everything from digital Robin Hoods to cyber terrorists.