We explain to you why the hypothesis of Finland joining NATO is viewed as an affront by Russia

It’s a flip flop. Concerned for its security since Russia invaded Ukraine, Finland announced on Friday, April 15, through the voice of its Minister for European Affairs, Tytti Tuppurainenit was “most likely” that his country will soon apply to join NATO.

Two days earlier, during a trip to the Swedish neighbor who is also considering future membership, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin had declared that the decision on a candidacy had been made “in a few weeks”after a debate organized in Parliament.

A diplomatic and military affront to Russia, which has consistently refused to see the North Atlantic military alliance on its doorstep to stand up to Western ubiquity in the region. Several members of the Russian government have already warned against membership of these two neutral countries in NATO “military and nuclear consequences”.

For Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, joining the 30-strong US-led coalition would seem daunting “significantly larger” against an attack from his neighbors, the shows “White Book” presented a few days ago (link in English) on this specific topic.

If this report, urgently commissioned by the Finnish government after the Russian attack on Ukraine, does not mean a decision for or against membership for the time being, the war in Ukraine forces Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto to open this debate on NATO.

“Russia is willing to take more risks than before, as this attack on Ukraine showed. Then it showed that it is capable of concentrating more than 100,000 men against one country.”, the Finnish minister assures AFP. The latter also wants to anticipate the possible future risks that his country is taking, especially towards Russia “in the face of tactical and chemical nuclear weapons”.

“The Finns seem to have made up their minds and there is already a large majority in favor of joining NATO”the Minister for Europe assured at the beginning of the week that Tytti Tuppurainen. Support for membership, which has hovered between 20 and 25 percent for decades, has suddenly tripled from 70 to 80 percent, according to the latest polls in the country. LFinnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin could therefore announce her country’s decision to join NATO without a prior referendum.

There is also a clear political majority in the Finnish Parliament. Among MPs who have already announced their position, 100 out of 200 are in favor of membership and just 12 against, according to several local media outlets.

Finland has also increased consultations with almost all NATO members in recent weeks. Like Sweden, the country has received clear pledges from the organization’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the support of several countries such as the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

These announcements from neighboring Finland made the Kremlin wince. Russia sees the alliance as an existential threat to its national security. In particular, it justified its offensive in Ukraine by wanting to counter Kiev’s Atlantic ambitions and Western political and military support for Ukraine.

Moscow has therefore taken to the habit of regularly threatening Finland and Sweden if they join NATO. But on Thursday, April 14, the warnings went up a notch. at rallies, “The borders of the alliance with Russia would more than double. And these borders must be defended.”noted the current number two of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, in a message on Telegram.

“A sane person (…) cannot wish for tensions to increase on his border and have next to his house (missiles) Iskander, hypersonic and ships with nuclear weapons.”

Dmitry Medvedev, number 2 of the Security Council of Russia

on telegram

“In this case there can be no talk of a [mer] non-nuclear Baltic”, he added. He also referred to the deployment of infantry and anti-aircraft systems in north-western Russia and naval forces in the Gulf of Finland.

These countries “We must understand the consequences of such a step for our bilateral relations and for the European security architecture as a whole‘ said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

“Being a member of NATO cannot strengthen their national security. In fact, Finland and Sweden will be the front lines of NATO.”

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry

in a press release

If Finland were to join NATO, the USA and its western allies would therefore have the opportunity to position themselves militarily on the Russian border. “For a great strategist like Putin, it’s still one of the biggest failures. If you add the invasion to this western unit [de l’Ukraine] awakens, the strengthening of NATO or the European Union’s response as a unit, it’s almost a bingo card of everything Russia didn’t want,” says Charly Salonius-Pasternak, researcher at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, in release (Article reserved for subscribers).

Finland now fears reprisals from Moscow, particularly during the transition period leading up to its possible NATO membership. Helsinki estimates that it will take four to 12 months to complete the accession process after agreement and unanimous ratification by NATO. Finland would then be the 31st state to join the Atlantic Alliance, which already includes Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and borders Russia.

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