Russia Warns Finland and Sweden on Joining NATO, Threatens Nuclear Deployment

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that it would be impossible for the Baltic region to remain “non-nuclear” if Sweden and Finland joined the Nato alliance.

“If Sweden and Finland join Nato, the length of the alliance’s land borders with Russia will more than double,” Medvedev, now deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council said.

“Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened.” If this is done, no non-nuclear status of the Baltic will be possible,” Medvedev added.

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the country would decide within “weeks” whether to apply to join Nato, while Sweden has edged closer to seeking membership in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Medvedev warned that ground and air defense forces would be “seriously reinforced” and “considerable naval forces” would be deployed in the Gulf of Finland if the two countries joined Nato. 

Meanwhile, two senior officials from Nato states said that Medvedev’s statement suggests that Moscow would make official its deployment of nuclear-armed Iskander cruise missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, giving Russia the potential to strike several EU capitals, including Berlin and Warsaw. 

“The bottom line is that they don’t need excuses for the militarisation the same way they didn’t need for the attack [on Ukraine],” said one of the officials. 

On Thursday, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte “that Russia threatens, it is nothing new.” 

Earlier, Nato officials have signaled that Finland and neighboring Sweden would be welcomed into the 30-member US-led alliance if they applied.

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