By John Ikani
Russia is reportedly moving military equipment towards its border with Finland – hundreds of miles away from Ukraine.
Video emerged on Tuesday showing two Russian coastal defence missile systems driving ominously towards Finland’s capital Helsinki, which sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of the country.
The move comes as Support for Nato membership has grown in the Nordic nation since Ukraine was invaded.
Moscow warned Finland against joining NATO, with the traditionally neutral country saying it was considering applying to join the bloc.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin said possible membership would be discussed ‘within the coming weeks’.
Given Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was largely linked to its ambitions to join NATO, Russia’s move to bring arms closer to its border with Finland could be a significant move.
According to U.S. officials cited by The Times of London, Finland will aim to join NATO as early as this summer.
Finland, which gained independence from Russia in December 1917, had long resisted joining the alliance—even at the height of the Cold War.
But Russia’s invasion of non-NATO member Ukraine has led Finland and nearby Sweden to reconsider their neutral stances towards the military alliance.
The Kremlin snapped back on Monday and warned both nations against joining the organization.
“We have repeatedly said that the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation and its further expansion will not bring stability to the European continent,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Should Finland join NATO it would represent a spectacular blunder for Russian President Vladimir Putin who has said the alliance is a threat to the country.
He previously cited NATO’s eastern expansion as part of his justification for launching his invasion of Ukraine on February 24.