Russia Threatens Nuclear Rollout if Finland, Sweden Join NATO
As tensions over Russia President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine grew, Russia vowed to deploy nuclear weapons in and around the Baltic Sea region if Finland and Sweden joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“There can be no mention of non-nuclear status for the Baltic in this event,” Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s deputy chief of security and former president, stated in a Telegram post on Thursday, implying that Russia may deploy Iskander missiles, hypersonic weapons, and nuclear-armed ships in the region.
Medvedev’s remarks are among the most specific warnings Russia has delivered in response to the possibility that its northwest neighbors would rejoin the alliance after decades of exclusion, reports Bloomberg. However, in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden said this week that they are intensifying their analysis of the matter.
The warnings were meaningless because Russia already has nuclear weapons in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, according to Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, declined to comment on the idea of nuclear weapons being placed in the Baltic region, but said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already instructed the military to prepare preparations for bolstering defenses along Russia’s western borders.
Medvedev expressed his hope that “reason” would triumph and that the countries would opt out of the alliance.
The length of Russia’s border with Finland exceeds the whole length of its border with current NATO members, at nearly 1,300 kilometers (800 miles). “We will need to severely reinforce our ground forces and anti-aircraft capabilities, as well as deploy substantial naval forces in the Gulf of Finland basin,” Medvedev stated if the countries join the alliance.
Despite the fact that both nations’ activities to consider NATO membership accelerated following the invasion, Medvedev said that Russia’s actions were not to blame. At the same time, he implied that while keeping Ukraine out of the Western alliance was a crucial goal of Russia’s campaign there, the situation in Finland and Sweden was viewed differently by the Kremlin.
“Unlike Ukraine, we don’t have territorial conflicts with those countries,” he remarked. “As a result, the cost of their membership is different for us.”
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