Spain and Finland warn of ‘serious consequences’ if Russia invades Ukraine

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (R) and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin (L) during the press conference after their meeting held at Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, 26 January 2022. [EPA-EFE/Juan Carlos Hidalgo]

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin told a joint press conference in Madrid that Russia should expect “serious consequences” if it invaded or showed military aggression towards Ukraine.

Sánchez warned about “massive, extremely serious consequences” for Russia’s economy if Moscow decides to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, stressing that Spain and the EU favour a “diplomatic solution” to the crisis, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

Sánchez reiterated the Spanish position – aligned with the EU – and the EU commitment to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its national sovereignty.

He added that Madrid is convinced that respecting international law would be the best way to solve the crisis.

It is time for diplomacy, détente and dialogue, but also for deterrence, Sánchez said.

“It is important to convey that if what nobody wants to happen, happens, there will obviously be major (EU) sanctions against Russia (…) It will have massive, extremely serious consequences for its economy (…)”, he said.

The Spanish prime minister denied differences in the positions of the EU and NATO and stressed that, on the contrary, there is an “absolute, categorical and clear” unity, both in terms of diplomacy and deterrence.

Meanwhile, Marin stressed that the EU must send a clear message that any military aggression by Russia will have “enormous consequences and very high costs”.

She also claimed that countries should be free to decide whether or not to join or modify their security alliances, an argument she repeated, stressing that only Finland has the power to decide whether or not to join NATO in the future.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

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