Finnish President Sauli Niinisto spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today regarding the Nordic country's application for NATO membership, which is expected to be announced this weekend, his office said.

"The conversation was direct and straight-forward and it was conducted without aggravations. Avoiding tensions was considered important," Mr Niinisto was quoted as saying in a statement by his office. "The phone call was initiated by Finland."

Earlier today Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying that Moscow will take adequate precautionary measures if NATO deploys nuclear forces and infrastructure closer to Russia's border.

"It will be necessary to respond ... by taking adequate precautionary measures that would ensure the viability of deterrence," Interfax agency quoted Mr Grushko as saying.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden and does not see "real" reasons for those two countries to be joining the NATO alliance, Mr Grushko added.

He also reiterated the Kremlin's earlier statement that Moscow's response to NATO's possible expansion will depend on how close the alliance moves military assets towards Russia and what infrastructure it deploys.

Finland's plan to apply for NATO membership, announced on Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent.

Read full coverage on the war in Ukraine here