INTERNATIONAL – And if the war started by russia in ukraine turned against her? Moscow issued a warning to Sweden and Finland on Friday, April 15: yes join NATO, “consequences” are to be expected. If the Ukrainian president, under pressure, finally backs down on his desire to join NATO, these two countries, so far officially non-aligned, are ready to consider a rapprochement with the Atlantic alliance, Russian military offensive against Ukraine and their atrocities having made them reflect.
These countries “must understand the consequences of such a move for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned in a statement. “Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen your 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, stated that if Finland or Sweden joined NATO, Russia would reinforce its military means, in particular the nuclear ones, in the Baltic Sea and near Scandinavia.
It must be said that this idea is enough to scare the Kremlin, since it is precisely to avoid having NATO at its gates that decided to invade Ukraine.
Make a war to keep NATO out and risk finding it on your doorstep.
When Vladimir Putin launched its invasion, one of its objectives was to oppose any attempt by the West to expand militarily and politically towards the Russian borders. However, Finland has about 1,300 km of border with Russia. By scaring its neighbors with its war in the Ukraine, Moscow risked throwing them into the arms of the Atlanticists and ultimately finding itself sharing a larger border with the Alliance.
Enough to constitute a “diplomatic disaster for Moscow”, says 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 meeting of Stockholm and Helsinki would also be paradoxical since Finland inspired, in spite of itself, the term “Finnishization”, points out the journalist Pierre Haski in 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 domestic policy. This enforced neutrality allowed Russia to maintain a border with a country that she did not feel threatened by. Which would no longer be the case if there are rallies.
Who says that the border with NATO was doubled, says great defense
The theme is also military. If Finland falls into the Alliance, the United States could then deploy advanced military equipment there.
If it joins, “the Alliance’s borders with Russia would more than double. And these borders will have to be defended,” said the current number two of the Russian Security Council in a message on Telegram.
“In this case, you can’t talk about a non-nuclear Baltic,” he added. He also discusses infantry and anti-aircraft deployments in northwestern Russia and naval forces in the Gulf of Finland.
Mentioning the Finnish and Swedish populations, he considered that “nobody in their right mind (…) can wish for an increase in tensions on their border and have Iskander, hypersonic and nuclear-armed ships next to their house. ”
“Vladimir Putin has been very, very clear that he would see this as aggression, and we have already seen what Vladimir Putin does when he feels that there is some kind of aggression against Russia,” Northeastern University professor Pablo Calderón tells nbc boston.
Being able to be more dissuasive in the face of a more emboldened Russia
Yet fear of aggression is precisely what could motivate Helsinki to join NATO. A report commissioned urgently by the Finnish government after the Russian attack on Ukraine, and released a few days ago, considered in particular that such an alliance would provide a “considerably greater” deterrent against an attack by its neighbor.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told AFP he wants to anticipate possible future risks his country faces from Russia, in particular “against tactical nuclear and chemical weapons”.
Finland and Sweden have obtained clear guarantees 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, he points out. franceinfo.
If the Finnish prime minister estimated that her country’s accession could be decided “in the next few weeks”, Sweden appears more in the background than its neighbour. On Wednesday, April 13, her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson said that “given this situation, we really have to think about what is best for Sweden, our security and our peace in this new situation.”
See also in The HuffPost: What would happen if Russia left the ISS?