Moscow is threatening to deploy nuclear weapons near Scandinavia if NATO expands

Russia does not want NATO expansion in Scandinavia, while the Finnish and Swedish populations are increasingly agreeing with this idea.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that if Finland or Sweden joined NATO, Russia would strengthen its military assets, including nuclear weapons, in the Baltic Sea and near Scandinavia.

In the event of membership, “the borders of the alliance with Russia would more than double. And these borders must be defended,” noted Russia’s current number two on the Security Council in a message on Telegram.

“In this case, there can be no question of a non-nuclear Baltic Sea,” he added, also referring to the deployment of infantry and anti-aircraft systems in northwestern Russia and military ships in the Gulf of Finland.

Regarding the Finnish and Swedish population, he was of the opinion that “no one in their right mind (…) could wish for an increase in tensions on his border and Iskander (missiles) next to his house, (missiles) hypersonic and ships with nuclear weapons”.

People are changing their minds about NATO

Finland, which has a long border and complicated history with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining NATO over Russia’s offensive against Ukraine. Helsinki’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced on Wednesday that a candidacy could be formalized “within a few weeks”. Sweden remains more measured to date, without ruling out this scenario.

In the past, these Scandinavian nations were not in favor of joining NATO because they were anxious to preserve their independence. “Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine,” said Sanna Marin.

Polls even show genuine public support for this diplomatic move. In 2017, a poll by public radio and television Yle showed that only 21% of Finns supported joining NATO. On March 11, it was 62%. A poll recently forwarded by The local in Sweden shows that 59% of residents are in favor of joining NATO if Finland precedes them.

So the next few weeks could be crucial. In fact, on June 29th and 30th, NATO is organizing a summit in Madrid. According to observers, Finland should have applied. It remains to be seen what position Sweden will take, especially after threats from Moscow.

Anthony Audureau with AFP

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