May 17, 2022
Her announcement came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that there will be consequences that “could be nuclear” if both countries join forces with the North Atlantic alliance, reports Forbes.
Speaking at a meeting in Moscow earlier Monday with several Kremlin-aligned leaders, Putin said Sweden and Finland joining NATO would “certainly provoke our response” according to Reuters’ translation of his comments.
According to Forbes, Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids break a long history of neutrality for the Nordic countries in a move that would add a significant land border between Russia and the military alliance—and represent a major fallout from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which Putin said was due to NATO’s increasing eastern presence.
Putin did not specify on Monday what Russia may do, should its Nordic neighbors join NATO, saying Russia “will see what threats are created for us,” according to Reuters.
Although Putin didn’t say Monday, the Kremlin has previously suggested it may respond to Finland and Sweden’s NATO potential accession with nuclear weapons.
Last month, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s former president and the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Russia may deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea, should Finland and Sweden join NATO—and a presenter on the state-run Russia-1 television station said on May 15 that Russia will have “no choice” but to deploy nuclear weapons to “neutralize” the threat, according to the BBC’s translation.
Putin’s statement strays from the Kremlin’s prior comments about the countries’ NATO bids, as the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week that the move would threaten to upend the “stability and security” of Northern Europe, indicating the Russian government is on its back foot following the historic applications from Finland and Sweden.
Research contact: @Forbes