We explain why the hypothesis of Finland’s entry into NATO is seen as an affront by Russia

It’s a flip flop. Concerned for your safety since Russia’s invasion of UkraineFinland announced on Friday April 15, through its Minister for European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainenthat he was “very likely” that your country submit an application to join NATO soon.

Two days earlier, during a trip to his Swedish neighbour, who was also considering future membership, the head of the Finnish government, sanna marinhad stated that a decision on an application would be made “In a few weeks”after an organized debate in Parliament.

A diplomatic and military affront for Russia, which has always refused to see the military alliance of the North Atlantic countries at its door to assert itself against Western omnipresence in the region. Several members of the Russian government have already warned that the entry of these two neutral countries into NATO “military and nuclear consequences”.

For Finland, which has a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, joining the 30-member US-led alliance would be a deterrent. “significantly larger” against an attack from its neighbor, indicates you “White book” submitted a few days ago (english link) on this specific topic.

If this report commissioned urgently by the Finnish government after the Russian attack on Ukraine does not imply a decision for or against accession for the time being, for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, the war in Ukraine makes it necessary to open this debate on NATO.

“Russia is willing to take more risks than before, as this attack on Ukraine showed. Then he showed himself capable of concentrating more than 100,000 men against a country”, assures the Finnish minister to AFP. The latter also wants to anticipate possible future risks incurred by his country against Russia, in particular “Confronting Tactical and Chemical Nuclear Weapons”.

“The Finns seem to have made up their minds and there is already a large majority in favor of joining NATO”assured at the beginning of the week the Minister of European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainen. Support for membership, which hovered between 20% and 25% for decades, suddenly tripled from 70% to 80%, according to the latest polls in the country. LThe Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, could thus announce her country’s decision to join NATO without even going through a prior referendum.

On the side of the Finnish Parliament, a clear political majority is also forming. Among the deputies who have already made their position known, one hundred out of 200 are in favor of affiliation and only 12 are against it, according to scores from various local media.

Finland has also increased consultations in recent weeks with almost all NATO members. Like Sweden, the country has obtained clear guarantees from the Organization’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the support of several countries such as the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

These announcements from neighboring Finland made the leap to the Kremlin. Russia sees the Alliance as an existential threat to its national security. In particular, he justified his offensive in Ukraine by his desire to counter kyiv’s Atlanticist ambitions and Western political and military support for Ukraine.

Therefore, Moscow has made a habit of regularly threatening Finland and Sweden if they join NATO. But, on Thursday, April 14, the warnings increased a bit. In case of rally, “The borders of the Alliance with Russia would be more than double. And these borders will have to be defended.”said the current number two of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, in a message on Telegram.

“A sane person (…) cannot wish for tensions to rise on his border and have Iskander, hypersonic, and nuclear-armed ships next to his house.”

Dmitry Medvedev, number 2 of the Russian Security Council

in telegram

“In this case, it can’t be a [mer] non-nuclear Baltic”, he added. He also referred to infantry and anti-aircraft deployments in northwestern Russia and naval forces in the Gulf of Finland.

These countries “We must understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole.“said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

“Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen your national security. De facto, Finland and Sweden will be the front line of NATO.”

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry

in a press release

If Finland joins NATO, the United States and its Western allies would therefore have the possibility to position themselves militarily on the Russian border. “For a great strategist like Putin, it remains one of the biggest failures. If you add to that Western unity that the invasion [de l’Ukraine] raises, the reinforcement of NATO or the response of the European Union as an entity, it is almost a bingo of everything that Russia did not want”, says Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, inside Release (Article reserved for subscribers).

Finland now fears retaliation from Moscow, particularly during the transition period that will precede its possible entry into NATO. Helsinki believes it will take four to twelve months to complete the membership process following unanimous agreement and ratification by NATO. Finland would then be the 31st state to join the Atlantic Alliance, which already includes Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, on the border with Russia.

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