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Russia Promises Nuclear Weapons on Finland, Sweden's 'Doorstep' Before NATO Announcement
Russia called the decision a gross mistake with far-reaching consequences
Just hours before NATO’s General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced that Turkey now supports Sweden and Finland’s bid to join the Alliance, Russia issued a stark warning for the countries.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said Moscow will have to strengthen its borders.
“The Baltic region’s nonnuclear status will become a thing of the past, the group of land and naval forces in the northern sector will be seriously increased,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “No one is happy with this, not the citizens of these two NATO candidate countries.”
It’s not the best prospect for them to have our Iskanders, hypersonic missiles, warships with nuclear weapons on their doorstep,” he continued.
Shortly after Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden announced that they will begin the process of seeking NATO. Polls in both countries showed a palpable shift in public opinion about the two Nordic nations about joining the alliance.
Finland has a formidable military although it only has a population of 5.5 million. The country has about the same number of reservists as Germany with a population of 83 million.
Finland also shares an expansive, 830-mile border with Russia and was invaded by its neighbor during WWII, which resulted in a brutal confrontation that ultimately resulted in Helsinki and Moscow signing a peace treaty in 1948, which included Finland's assurances that it will not join NATO.
Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister, said the security environment in the country has “dramatically changed.”
Haavisto told The Guardian that Russia has become “more unpredictable” and seems ready to take bolder risks than Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014. He called those “calculated risks.”
Stoltenberg said he is "confident" that Finland and Sweden will be able to join the Alliance after the agreement with Turkey.
Ankara was seen as a roadblock in the effort by these countries to join NATO. Turkey accused the countries of harboring terrorists tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and it also sought to have an arms embargo lifted due to its incursions into Syria, DW.com reported.
Turkey said in a statement that it "got what it wanted," and “made significant gains in the fight against terrorist organizations.”
TRENDPOST: We pointed out that Western officials, like U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, ignored Russia’s stated security concerns about Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a video in May that Finland and Sweden should not base their security on "damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences."
Samuel Ramani, a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford, tweeted that Russian Senator Andrei Klimov called NATO a "suicide club" and warned that “Sweden and Finland could meet the fate of the Azovstal steel fighters in Mariupol if they join NATO.”
(Ramani was referring to Ukrainian forces who were trapped in a sprawling steel plant in Mariupol after fierce fighting with Russian troops. Putin decided not to raid the plant and instead ordered fighters to form a blockade to starve out these fighters. Putin did not believe it made sense to send his troops into the campus, which could cost Russian lives. “Block off this industrial area so that a fly cannot pass,” Putin said.)
In April, Niinisto spoke with Erdogan on Finland's possible bid for NATO membership and the Finnish leader tweeted that Turkey “supports Finland's objectives.”
Turkey’s comment recalled a time in 2019 when President Emmanuel Macron of France called NATO "brain dead" after he cited the U.S.’s failure to consult NATO before pulling out of northern Syria.
As mentioned in many previous Trends Journal issues, we’ve pointed out the diplomatic failures of NATO, which remains a profitable business for weapons contractors.