Russia Issues Ominous Warning to Finland, Sweden Should They Join NATO

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said that Moscow would have to respond if Sweden and Finland intended to join NATO.

Maria Zakharova held a press conference on Friday and reflected on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the intentions of Russia going forward.

A clip of her speech has begun to go viral on social media as she appears to issue a threat aimed at Sweden and Finland, saying it would have "serious military-political repercussions." The video has amassed over 300,000 views.

"Finland and Sweden should not base their security damaging the security of other countries," Zakharova said during the press conference.

"Clearly [the] accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO, which is first and foremost a military alliance, would have serious military-political repercussions that would demand a response from our country," she said.

This comes after Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that the country was receiving support from both nations.

"Discussed with [Finnish President Sauli Niinistö] countering the aggressor. Informed about our defense, insidious shelling of Kyiv," he wrote in a tweet on Friday.

"Grateful to [Finland] for allocating $50 million [in] aid. It's an effective contribution to the anti-war coalition. We keep working. We need to increase sanction and [Ukraine] defense support."

He later tweeted: "Sweden provides military, technical and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Grateful to [Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson] for her effective support.

"Building an anti-Putin coalition together."

The Twitter pages of the Finnish president and Swedish prime minister condemned Russia after hearing the news of the invasion of Ukraine.

"I strongly condemn the military measures Russia has started in Ukraine," Niinistö wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

"Russia's acts target Ukraine, but at the same time they are an attack on the entire European security order.

"We feel deep compassion towards Ukraine and are seeking ways to increase our support to Ukraine."

On Thursday, Andersson's Twitter page issued a similar statement and highlighted the importance of other European leaders responding robustly.

"Sweden condemns in the strongest terms Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine," it said in a tweet.

"Russia's acts are also an attack on the European security order. It will be met by a united and robust response in solidarity with Ukraine. Russia alone is responsible for human suffering."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made an appeal to Ukrainian soldiers, less than 48 hours after invading the country.

During a televised broadcast on Friday, Putin said it would be easier to come to an agreement without a "gang of junkies and neo-Nazis." These insults were aimed at the government in Kyiv, which he claimed had taken the people of Ukraine hostage.

He elaborated on this and insisted that the Ukrainian army should not be allowed to "use your children, your wives and old people as human shields."

Update 2/24/22, 11:56 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include tweets from the Swedish prime minister and Finnish president, as well as comments from Vladimir Putin.

Maria Zakharova
Image of Maria Zakharova during her speech on Friday. She appeared to issue a warning to Sweden and Finland over the possibility of joining NATO. Sky News