Finland and Sweden are on their way to NATO. Russia hates her very much.
“Finland’s membership in NATO certainly poses a threat to Russia,” said a statement by Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Thursday morning.
Peskov also claims that NATO expansion will not make the world or Europe safer.
He added that Finland had joined the “unfriendly steps towards Russia” taken by the European Union and threatened what he called a symmetric response to that. He did not give details of what it should be.
“It all depends on how this expansion will develop and how close the military infrastructure is to our borders,” Peskov said.
According to him, everyone wants to avoid a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Finland’s desire to join NATO is a radical change in its foreign policy, according to Reuters. At the same time, he claims that NATO aims to continue expanding towards Russia’s borders, in order to create a “new wing of military threats” against Russia.
It also repeats Peskov’s message that Russia will have to respond – militarily and in other ways.
Stoltenbeg promises a fast process
On Thursday, it became clear that Finland’s President and Prime Minister recommends applying for membership in the Defense Alliance. Something the Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, mentions as one “Historic Decision”.
In Sweden, too, this is likely to happen soon.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that he welcomes Finnish membership, and believes it will enhance the security of both NATO and Finland. He promises that the accession process will take place quickly.
– Finnish membership will show that the door of NATO is open, and that Finland decides its future, he says.
He rejects the allegations
Basically, this is a terrifying scenario for the Kremlin, says Nubian researcher and Russian expert Julie Wilhelmsen when asked about Russia’s reaction to the fact that Finland and Sweden are now on their way to NATO membership.
She notes that for years the Russian authorities have referred to NATO as a hostile alliance, with offensive intentions when it comes to what they are doing on the border with Russia.
All of them reject the claim that NATO’s defensive intentions are a form of manipulation, especially on the part of the United States. This is their propaganda, says Wilhelmsen.
At the same time, she notes that this is a development that, according to the Kremlin’s speech, was expected. Especially since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
Russia has talked about Sweden and Finland as de facto members of NATO in recent years with improved cooperation between these countries and NATO, says the researcher.
Wilhelmsen believes the situation is very different from when Russia invaded Ukraine, in part because Russia wants to prevent the country it invaded from becoming a member of NATO. Therefore, the researcher does not think that there is much reason to fear the military reactions of Russia to Sweden and Finland applying for membership.
Since 2014, there has been a growing tension along the East-West border in Europe, but according to the Russian expert, this tension was temporarily created by the Russian war against Ukraine.
– And so, this looks different now than it did a year ago. Although – quite predictably – the Kremlin will refer to this as a serious development, it is possible that Russia has been so weakened by the war that it is difficult to imagine a strong practical and military response to the new membership.
Does Russia owe it to itself the fact that NATO now appears to be expanding eastward, with more countries having direct borders with it – something they made clear they didn’t want to?
– Yes, you can certainly say that. This is a corollary, says Wilhelmsen, who has compared it to the way Russia pressured former Soviet states to participate in Russian-led joint ventures.
This pressure worked against its purpose, and it is quite clear that Russia did not achieve what it wanted. It is about the Kremlin trying to plot and gain power in several stadiums at the same time.
In the domestic political arena, Russia has become embroiled in a situation in which NATO and the West are mobilized as an external and existential danger of creating internal unity, Wilhelmsen believes.
Russia now believes that it must offer resistance to this threat, which they have constructed themselves, to an internal audience they themselves have aroused. It concludes that this is a major problem for the Kremlin.
confirm the reason
who – which Russia is the reason for confirming the Finnish order The country’s former prime minister, Alexander Staab, to VG today.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also commented on Finland’s ambitions in NATO, after speaking with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on Thursday.
He commended the Finnish government’s willingness to apply for membership.
We also discussed Ukraine’s European integration and defense cooperation, the president wrote on Twitter.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”