Russia has warned it will have to take unspecified “military-technical” steps after Finland announced it was in favour of joining Nato and is likely to apply to join the military alliance in the coming days.

Finland’s president and the prime minister said on Thursday that they are in favour of applying for Nato membership, in a major move, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin means Finland is virtually certain to seek Nato membership, though a few steps remain before the application process can begin.

The Russian foreign ministry said the move will “inflict serious damage on Russian-Finnish relations, as well as stability and security in Northern Europe”.

It added, “Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps of military-technical and other characteristics in order to counter the emerging threats to its national security.”

“Joining NATO will also be a direct violation of Finland’s international legal obligations, primarily the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 and the 1992 Treaty between Russia and Finland on the fundamentals of relations,” Russia’s foreign ministry said. 

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