Finland and Sweden soon in NATO? Why Russia Is So Uptight – The HuffPost

INTERNATIONAL – What if the war started by Russia in Ukraine turns against it? Moscow issued a warning to Sweden and Finland on Friday April 15: if they join NATO, “consequences” will be expected. If the Ukrainian president, under pressure, finally backed down on his desire to join NATO, these two countries, officially non-aligned until then, are ready to consider a rapprochement with the Atlantic alliance, the Russian military offensive against Ukraine and its atrocities having made them think. These countries “must understand the consequences of such a measure for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole”, warned the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, in a press release. “Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen their national security. De facto, (Finland and Sweden) will be the front line of NATO”, she further indicated. Already on Thursday, the former Russian president and current number two of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev affirmed that if Finland or Sweden joined NATO, Russia would strengthen its military means, particularly nuclear ones, in the Baltic Sea and near Scandinavia. It must be said that this idea is enough to panic the Kremlin, since it is precisely to avoid having NATO on its doorstep that it decided to invade Ukraine. Make a war to keep NATO away, and take the risk of finding it at its doorstepWhen Vladimir Putin launched his invasion, one of his objectives was to oppose any attempt by the West to expand militarily and politically towards the Russian borders. However, Finland has some 1300 km of border with Russia. By frightening its neighbors with its war in Ukraine, Moscow took the risk of throwing them into Atlanticist arms and ultimately finding itself sharing a larger border with the Alliance. Enough to constitute a “diplomatic disaster for Moscow”, notes CNN. An outrage that would add to the humiliations already suffered by the Kremlin in the ongoing conflict, in the face of Ukrainian resistance on the ground and the sinking of its flagship Moskva on April 14. Especially since this invasion has already cost, according to NATO figures released on April 7, between 7,000 and 15,000 men to the Russian army. This rallying of Stockholm and Helsinki would also be paradoxical since Finland inspired, in spite of itself, the term “Finlandization”, notes the journalist Pierre Haski on France Inter. This word designates a neutrality imposed in the past by the Soviet Union. In 1945, after several attempts to invade Russia, Finland agreed to align itself with Russia’s foreign policy while remaining sovereign over its own internal policy. This forced neutrality allowed Russia to keep a border with a country by which it did not feel threatened. Which would no longer be the case if there is rallying. Who says border with NATO doubled, says great defense The stake is also military. If Finland falls into the bosom of the Alliance, the United States could then deploy advanced military equipment there. And these borders will have to be defended”, noted the current number two of the Security Council of Russia in a message on Telegram. “In this case, there can be no question of a non-nuclear Baltic”, he added. He also discusses deployments of infantry and anti-aircraft systems in northwestern Russia and naval forces in the Gulf of Finland. (…) cannot wish for tensions to rise on his border and have Iskander, hypersonic (missiles) and ships with nuclear weapons next to his house.” “Vladimir Putin has been very, very clear about the fact that he would see that as aggression, and we have already seen what Vladimir Putin does when he senses that there is some kind of aggression against Russia,” Northeastern University professor Pablo Calderon explains to NBC Boston. Being able to be more dissuasive in the face of a more emboldened Russia Yet the fear of aggression is precisely what could motivate Helsinki to join NATO. A report urgently commissioned by the Finnish government after the Russian attack on Ukraine, and unveiled a few days ago, considered in particular that such an alliance would provide a “considerably greater” deterrent against an attack by its neighbor. The Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, explained to AFP that he wishes to anticipate the possible future risks that his country faces from Russia, in particular “in the face of tactical and chemical nuclear weapons”. Finland and Sweden have obtained clear assurances from the Secretary General of the Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, and the support of several countries such as the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, notes Franceinfo. If the Swedish Prime Minister estimated that her country’s membership could be decided “in the weeks to come”, Sweden seems more in the background than its neighbour. On Wednesday April 13, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said that “given this situation, we really need to think about what is best for Sweden, our security and our peace in this new situation.” See also on The HuffPost: What would happen if Russia left the ISS?

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