During a year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military reinforcement in northwest Russia and issued a warning of “problems” with Finland after the neighboring country joined NATO earlier this year. Finland’s decision to join NATO came in the aftermath of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine in 2022, leading Finland to abandon its policy of military neutrality.
Putin emphasized the absence of prior disputes with Finland, stating that all issues, including territorial ones, had been resolved decades ago. However, he expressed disagreement with Finland’s choice and revealed the establishment of a new military district in the northwest named “Leningrad,” referencing a region bordering Finland.
This statement comes after Finland closed its entire border with Russia, accusing Moscow of orchestrating a migratory crisis with an increasing influx of undocumented migrants. Putin reiterated that Russia harbors no geopolitical, economic, or military intentions against NATO countries, led by the United States.
US President Joe Biden warned that Putin might not halt in Ukraine if the offensive succeeds, escalating tensions on NATO’s eastern flank. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the real risk that Russian aggression might not cease with an eventual victory in Ukraine.