- Sweden, Finland are preparing to jointly apply to NATO in mid-May
- Russia had warned both countries against joining NATO
- The new development could further raise tensions in the region
Russia-Ukraine war news: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Ukraine invasion with just one justification that Kiev’s ambitions to join NATO threatens the national security of Russia. Now over two months into the war, Finland and Sweden are about to further disappoint him. COMPLETE COVERAGE ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR
There are reports that Sweden and Finland are preparing to jointly apply to NATO in mid-May. The Finnish Iltalehti newspaper reported that the applications of Finland and Sweden to NATO should be published in the week starting May 16. A state visit of the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to Sweden at the invitation of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is scheduled for the same week, May 17 to 18.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to growing support in Sweden and Finland, a Russian neighbour, for joining NATO. Though not members, both Nordic countries closely cooperate with NATO, allowing, among other things, the alliance’s troops to exercise on their soil. Helsinki and Stockholm have also substantially intensified their bilateral defense cooperation in the past years.
What’s next for Russia
Russia won’t be able to spare many troops to place in threatening positions near Finland, Sweden as long as the war in Ukraine continues, however, further frustrations could darken Putin’s mood in its war against Ukraine and West’s interference.
Russia’s nuclear threat
The development also comes on the heels of Russia’s tough message in which it had warned Finland, Sweden against joining of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance saying that it will proceed with nuclear deployments in Europe if this move by European nations is taken. Conveying it to Finland and Sweden, Russia said, “If both the countries join NATO, the length of alliance’s land borders with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened,” Dmitry Medvedev, former President and deputy chairman of Russia’s security council wrote on Telegram.
Medvedev said that Russia will have to seriously strengthen grouping of land forces, air defense, deploy significant naval forces towards the Gulf of Finland. The deputy chairman of Russia’s security council further said that it will no longer be possible to talk about any nuclear-free status of the Baltic – the balance must be restored.