“We have no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden,” the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said today (Saturday). The Russian news agency RIA quoted the senior official as saying, “The response to the two joining NATO depends on the way NATO is deployed in their territory.” He said that if the military alliance deployed nuclear forces closer to Russia’s borders, Moscow would take appropriate response.
Finland announced on Thursday morning its intention to join the NATO alliance, prompting a stormy response from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said after the announcement that it “definitely” poses a threat to Russia. The world is more stable, he added during a conference call with reporters, adding that Finland’s steps are “cause for remorse” and “reason for forcing a symmetrical response”.
Diplomats and officials quoted by the British Guardian said a similar announcement by Sweden to join the North Atlantic military alliance was expected to come later, as it would certainly not want to be the only Nordic country outside the alliance. According to them, the reason for this is the Russian invasion of Ukraine that “reshapes security on the continent and the trans-Atlantic military alliance.”
In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states are already members of the organization, and the accession of Finland and Sweden is likely to anger elements in Moscow, who have previously noted that “expanding the organization poses a direct threat to Russia’s security.” They have warned the two in the past, and even threatened that the talk could have “serious political and military implications.”