Sweden And Finland Likely To Join NATO As Russia Continues Assault On Ukraine
Moscow said on Thursday that Russia will need to boost its defenses in the Baltic Sea, including a potential nuclear escalation, should Sweden and Finland join NATO.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s security council and former president of Russia, said.
“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to. If our hand is forced, well … take note it was not us who proposed this,” he added.
Medvedev’s warning came as both Sweden and Finland are closer to joining NATO than they have ever been.
During a joint news conference in Stockholm on Wednesday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Finland would decide within the next few weeks on NATO membership and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said the same of Sweden. Finland shares a significant land border with Russia.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas pointed out that Russia already has nuclear weapons in the area.
“The current Russian threats look quite strange when we know that, even without the present security situation, they keep the weapon 100 km from Lithuania’s border,” Anusauskas said. “Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad. The international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this. They use it as a threat.”
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte echoed Anusauskasn’s statement.
“That Russia threatens, it is nothing new,” Simonyte said Thursday. “Kaliningrad is a very militarized zone, has been for many years, and it is in the Baltic region.”