On Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced their support for their country’s NATO entry, stressing that “NATO membership will enhance Finland’s security. By joining the alliance of 30 countries led by the US from the entire defense alliance”.
In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “Moscow must take retaliatory measures, whether military-technical or otherwise, to stop the growth of threats to its national security, and Helsinki must be aware of the responsibilities and consequences of such”. one step.”
Finland is a country of the European Union, and it has the longest border with Russia, with a length of 1,340 km, and was invaded by the Soviet Union during World War II, and it is also one of the few countries in the Union that he did not end conscription or significantly reduce military spending after the Cold War set his weights in motion.
Moscow sees NATO as a strategic threat to its influence in the region, and demands that it not come close to its borders, while NATO defends the open door policy for countries to join it, and the sovereignty of those countries on that decision.
Finland’s move, which Sweden could emulate, would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin with the very result he said the war in Ukraine was meant to avoid: further expansion of NATO into Russia.
A victory for NATO and a challenge for Russia
On the repercussions of the Finnish move, Leon Radziosini, an analyst specializing in political and strategic affairs, said that Finland’s entry into the alliance, as well as the possibility of Sweden taking the same step, blatantly defies Putin’s demands to reduce the NATO presence in the region, as this would add 300,000 square miles to NATO territory to the northeast. It would also double NATO’s border with Russia to almost 1,600 miles.
Radziocini added, in statements to “Sky News Arabia”, that their acceptance into the military alliance depends on the unanimous agreement of all 30 current NATO members, a process that can take months, so Finland and Sweden will remain at risk until their The accession is ratified, and the West accelerates the steps for fear of any Russian military movement.
He pointed out that the accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance represents an opportunity for NATO due to the nature and geography of the two countries and their military capabilities, stressing that they not only enjoy pre-existing deep defense cooperation at the bilateral level, but also they cooperate in multilateral forums, such as the Nordic Defense Cooperation, the European Union and the United Nations, both of which have a strong interest in maintaining stability in the Baltic Sea region.
He continued: “Finland and Sweden feel Russian pressure and are in direct contact with the dynamics that affected Ukraine, although there are clearly deep differences. The presence of the war in Ukraine and fears of where Putin could go next may create a broader situation in which the security of Finland and Sweden may require closer relations with the Alliance”.
On the possibility of repeating the fate of Ukraine in the two countries, he stressed that “Moscow’s threats complicate things even more, but Russia is unable to open new fronts at this time.”
For his part, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Finland has joined the hostile steps taken by the European Union against our country. This cannot but cause our regret and provoke similar reactions on our part.”
Peskov responded to a question about whether this poses a threat to Russia: “Certainly… NATO expansion does not make our continent more stable and secure.”
Military and logistic reinforcements
In recent months, Finland and Sweden have strengthened their armed forces and increased annual spending on civil defense and weapons, with Helsinki placing an order for 64 F-35s from Lockheed Martin, at a cost of more than $9 billion.
The Finnish government has also stored large amounts of grain and fuel in strategic reserves that will last at least 5 months.
As for Sweden, it increased its defense budget for the year 2021 by around $7 billion, and it is expected to increase this amount to around $11 billion, or almost 2 percent of the required gross domestic product of the countries. NATO members.