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Ukraine war: Putin warns Finland joining Nato would be 'mistake' Ukraine war: Putin warns Finland joining Nato would be 'mistake'
(32 minutes later)
Finland has increased its military budget in recent yearsFinland has increased its military budget in recent years
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his Finnish counterpart that joining Nato and abandoning Finland's neutral status would be a "mistake".Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his Finnish counterpart that joining Nato and abandoning Finland's neutral status would be a "mistake".
He told Sauli Niinistö there was no threat to Finland's security.He told Sauli Niinistö there was no threat to Finland's security.
The exchange came during a phone call made by the Finnish president, ahead of a formal request which Finland is expected to announce very soon.The exchange came during a phone call made by the Finnish president, ahead of a formal request which Finland is expected to announce very soon.
Sweden has also indicated its intention to join the Western alliance, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Sweden has also indicated its intention to join the Western alliance, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.
Mr Putin did not make a specific threat of retaliation over Finland's move, but the Russian foreign ministry has indicated there will be retaliation.Mr Putin did not make a specific threat of retaliation over Finland's move, but the Russian foreign ministry has indicated there will be retaliation.
Russia's decision to suspended electricity supplies to Finland is being seen as an early sign, however.Russia's decision to suspended electricity supplies to Finland is being seen as an early sign, however.
Are Sweden and Finland going from neutral to Nato?Are Sweden and Finland going from neutral to Nato?
What is Nato and could Finland and Sweden join?What is Nato and could Finland and Sweden join?
In its statement, Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic said it would suspend deliveries of electricity to Finland mentioned problems with payments. In its statement, Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic mentioned problems with payments.
Finland national grid executive Reima Paivinen told the BBC the Russian suspension had not caused any problems.Finland national grid executive Reima Paivinen told the BBC the Russian suspension had not caused any problems.
He said Russian imports accounted for around 10% of national supply, adding that they could be replaced from alternative sources.He said Russian imports accounted for around 10% of national supply, adding that they could be replaced from alternative sources.
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Watch: Ros Atkins on… Finland, Nato and RussiaWatch: Ros Atkins on… Finland, Nato and Russia
Following the phone call between Mr Niinistö and Mr Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin said the Russian leader had stressed the "end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland's security".Following the phone call between Mr Niinistö and Mr Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin said the Russian leader had stressed the "end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland's security".
It added: "Such a change in the country's political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and co-operation between partners."It added: "Such a change in the country's political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and co-operation between partners."
Mr Niinistö said he had told Mr Putin how recent moves by Russia, along with the invasion of Ukraine, "have altered the security environment of Finland".Mr Niinistö said he had told Mr Putin how recent moves by Russia, along with the invasion of Ukraine, "have altered the security environment of Finland".
"The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important," he said."The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important," he said.
Nato, a Western military alliance, was founded in part to ward off threat from the Soviet Union in 1949.Nato, a Western military alliance, was founded in part to ward off threat from the Soviet Union in 1949.
President Putin has mentioned Ukraine's intention to join the alliance as one of the reasons for the invasion of its neighbour.President Putin has mentioned Ukraine's intention to join the alliance as one of the reasons for the invasion of its neighbour.
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