Finland and Sweden in NATO means change to nuclear posture – Moscow
Russia would have to deploy significant forces to its northwestern borders if Sweden and Finland join NATO, the country's ex-president, Dmitry Medvedev, warned on Thursday. He added that deploying nuclear arms to the region might well be a way of “restoring the balance” of security.
The two states acceding to the US-led military bloc would only mean Russia will have more “officially registered adversaries,” the former president wrote in a lengthy Telegram post commenting on the aspirations of Stockholm and Helsinki.
The length of the land border between Russia and the military bloc will nearly double should the plans come to fruition, added Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council. “This border's [security] will have to be strengthened,” he continued. Possible enhancement options include “drastically increasing the number of land forces and air defenses” in the region, and deploying additional warships to the Gulf of Finland.
“The non-nuclear status of the Baltic region will be out of question in this case. The balance [of power] should be preserved,” Medvedev warned, adding that Russia had not even considered such an option until now.
The former president also said there is in fact little reason for Sweden and Finland to join the military bloc, adding that all references to Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine are irrelevant in this case. “We do not have any territorial disputes with these nations,” he explained.
Medvedev also expressed his hope that “common sense” would prevail, adding that “rational” people in Sweden and Finland would hardly want to see an “increased tax” burden as well as “tensions along their nations’ borders” and “nuclear-armed vessels within an arm’s reach from their homes.”
His words come a day after Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson confirmed they want their nations to join the US-led bloc “quite fast.” Marin particularly pointed to the ongoing Russian military offensive in Ukraine as a reason for changing Finland’s long-standing neutrality policy.
Some media reports suggested both nations would submit their applications this summer, although there has been no official confirmation of any potential dates. The plans have also been criticized by the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said Helsinki and Stockholm were going against their own interests.