Tuesday. 25.06.2024
WAR IN UKRAINE

Russia now threatens Finland and Sweden not to join NATO

Many Western geostrategic analysts believe that with this war Russia intends the 'Finlandization' of Ukraine

On Friday, the governments of Helsinki and Stockholm participated as observers in NATO's conference, a move that the Kremlin did not like at all

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (R) and Prime Minister Sanna Marin speak at a press conference following the Russian attack on Ukraine. Photo: Lauri Heikkinen/Vnk.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (R) and Prime Minister Sanna Marin speak at a press conference following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Lauri Heikkinen/Vnk.

Less than 48 hours after the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, Moscow extends its threats to the Nordic countries Finland and Sweden, both neutral but with increasingly close ties to NATO.

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajarova, has warned Finland and Sweden that their accession to NATO would entail "serious political and military repercussions" that would require a "response" from Russia.

Neither Finland - which has a history of war with Russia during the 1940s- nor Sweden joined NATO during the cold war or afterwards. In fact, in diplomatic language the term 'Finlandization'  (Suomettuminen, in Finnish) is often used to define a position in foreign policy somewhere between neutrality and submission to the Russians, whose main objective is not to irritate the Kremlin

These days, the word has been heard again in the mouth of many Western geostrategic analysts, who believe that with this war Russia intends the 'Finlandization' of Ukraine.

In recent years, Finland and Sweden have developed ever closer ties with NATO, to the point that Moscow is beginning to mistrust its once peaceful neighbors. In particular, the Russians keep an eye on Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia, which would make the country a very useful ally for any enemy of Moscow.

'Observers' in NATO's conference

On Friday, not only the 30 members of the Alliance and the European institutions were invited to the virtual conference called by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, but also the governments of Helsinki and Stockholm, which participated as observers, a move that the Kremlin did not like at all.

"It is clear that the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, which is above all a military alliance, would have serious political and military repercussions that would require a response from our country," warned the Russian Foreign Affairs spokeswoman.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday that the Russian invasion of Ukraine "would change the meaning of the debate" about her country's accession to NATO.

Forced by neigbourhood reasons, Finland is considered an important mediator in the tense relationship between the EU and the Kremlin, and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is sometimes described as a Putin hand.

Russia now threatens Finland and Sweden not to join NATO