Finland and Sweden's Closeness to NATO Is Getting More Real, How Will Russia Respond

Finland and Sweden's Closeness to NATO Is Getting More Real, How Will Russia Respond
The flags of Finland, NATO and Sweden

International Military
- On Wednesday 13 April, the Prime Ministers of Sweden and Finland held a joint conference in Stockholm. The two Nordic countries discussed their joining the Western military alliance, namely NATO.

In fact, residents of these two countries support their countries joining NATO, reports Defense View. "Finland shows 53% of citizens support (NATO) membership and for Sweden shows six out of ten citizens agree"

The reason why these two initially neutral countries insisted on joining the Western alliance is to see what is happening in Ukraine today. Both Finland and Sweden are concerned about the security threat posed by Russia's special military operations in Ukraine.

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And this effort provoked Russia, who saw a threat if the two Nordic countries joined NATO. Although, according to Defense View, it shows that President Putin views that the joining of these two countries does not pose a threat to Russia.

The concern is if Finland and Sweden will upgrade their military infrastructure, as is happening in Ukraine.

Military training with Nato

It is reported from Defense News that Sweden will open a large multinational exercise tomorrow Saturday in the Baltic Sea. Considering the Baltic Sea is an important asset for NATO's northern defense calculus. The famous waters will essentially be a sea surrounded almost exclusively by the countries of the NATO alliance.

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Meanwhile, Russia still has military bases in Kaliningrad in the south and the St. Petersburg in the far east. To send a signal of allied resolve, the Swedish Ministry of Defense is bringing the world's largest military alliance to the Baltic Sea for exercises starting on June 5.

"Sweden will host the annual BALTOPS drills for the first time in its 50-year history, where amphibious, anti-submarine, gun and air defense operations of 14 NATO allies plus Sweden and Finland will be carried out with around 45 ships, 75 aircraft and about 7,000 personnel," citing Defense News.

Mark Milley, a top four-star US general is scheduled to meet senior Swedish and Finnish officials later this week. "This meeting is a symbol of US support for both countries, as well as our support for their application to join NATO," Milley said.

The inclusion of two historically neutral Nordic countries is expected to change Europe's security scheme for years to come. With NATO's help, the armed forces and their geographical location will seriously complicate any aggression that Russia might attempt in the region.

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A former US Navy admiral, James Foggo assesses the Visby Class warships used by the Swedish Navy "They (Sweden) have an extraordinary navy, warships like the Visby Class that specialize in anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare," he said.

Russia condemns Finland and Sweden

One of the criticisms came from Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said on March 22 that they would use nuclear weapons to respond to a major threat. In this regard, the joining of Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO is one that is described as a major threat.

"If both Finland and Sweden intend to join NATO, we will deploy nuclear weapons to the Baltic Sea," Dmitry Peskov, citing Defense View, said. "There is no more talk of a nuclear-free status for the Baltics, the balance must be restored," he added.

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In addition to the deployment of nuclear weapons, Russia has also announced that it will build more military bases in the western region of the country. Western allies assess the new base not only increases the threat to Ukraine, but also to other NATO countries, such as Latvia and Estonia in the Baltic Sea.

"Russia will establish 12 new military bases in response to Finland and Sweden applying for NATO membership," Defense View reported. "We will build 12 military bases which will be operational by the end of this year," said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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