Responding to a joint declaration of the Nordic countries of intentions to step up military cooperation in the face of Russian aggression, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday, saying that moves by Finland and Sweden towards closer ties with NATO were of "special concern", Reuters reports.
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Russia's comments followed an article in the newspaper Aftenposten on Friday, where in a joint declaration, ministers of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland said northern Europe must prepare for possible crises or incidents because of Russia.

The Nordic countries said they will step up military cooperation among themselves and show solidarity with the Baltic states which feel most threatened by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and increasingly frequent provocations by their borders.

Finland and Sweden are not members of NATO, but have increased cooperation with the alliance. The joint declaration has been among their strongest responses to Russia's aggression.

Finish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb called the Russian statement "sabre-rattling", but said one should not be startled by it.

"No other country, of course, has a veto over Finland's decisions," Stubb, who would like to see Finland join NATO, told public broadcaster YLE.

He said that Russia's campaign in Georgia in 2008 and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine have changed security policy situation, which will impact security policy in the region.

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