Lavrov: Russia will react to NATO's activities in the Baltic region

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Kremlin will take certain measures in response to increased NATO activity in the Baltic region. According to Reuters, he said this at a meeting with Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Timo Soini, in Moscow.

Lavrov said this on the same day as NATO’s large-scale BALTOPS 16 exercises began. These involve NATO troops landing on Finnish soil for the first time.

“We do not hide our negative attitude towards the fact that NATO is moving their military infrastructure closer to our borders and also that they are attracting new countries to join the military activities of the Alliance,” Lavrov said.

“Russia has the sovereign right to guarantee its security with measures proportionate to the current risk. I am sure that our Finnish friends and neighbors understand this,” he said.

Soini has in turn said that these military exercises will help strengthen Finland’s military potential and “are not directed at anyone specific”.

He also said that even though Finland is not a NATO member, the country responds to “security challenges”, they work closely with NATO and they cooperate with neighboring Sweden. “We can discuss these issues openly with each other. Finland makes these decisions independently and right now, our goal is our security. There are no other reasons for our current actions,” Soini concluded.

  Russia, Finland, NATO, Baltic States, exercises