Today, on 15th May 2022, the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, confirmed a new beginning for his country as they are applying for NATO membership. Russian President, Vladimir Putin has told that joining NATO would be a “mistake” and Finland can meet the consequences as cutting of the electricity supplies announcements earlier.
The Kremlin views it as a direct threat to the world’s military balance and Russian side national security. In January, the President’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov said that every NATO expansion “worry” Russian Federation. “NATO is not a development institution. NATO is an instrument of confrontation. The Alliance is conceived in such a way, it is designed in such a way, and it exists in such a way. This is an absolutely obvious fact. The expansion means a threat to us” – added the Kremlin spokesperson.
Dmitry Medvedev, Former President of Russia, commented on his Telegram channel on possible steps of the Russian side after Finland’s NATO joining. In his opinion “generally is not too important” how many countries are in NATO, it can be a number of 30 or 32. But, at the same time, the entry of Finland and Sweden will double the power of the alliance and the borders will have to be seriously strengthened.
“We need seriously to strengthen the grouping of ground forces and air defence and deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. In this case, it will no longer be possible to talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic – the balance must be restored.” Medvedev added.
Finland shares an 800-mile border with the Russians and has been maintaining a strict position of neutrality since the end of WWII. At the same time, Russia has been against the expansion of military alliances, especially including its neighbours.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February forced things to change. As per The Guardian, public support for NATO membership has trebled in Finland, with the latest poll by the public broadcaster Yle showing 76% of Finns in favour compared with about 25% before the invasion, with only 12% against.
However, Dmitry Medvedev thinks that Finland and Sweden’s entrance has been planned before the “special operation” on 24 February.
“This is not true. First, attempts to drag them into the alliance have been made before. And, secondly, and most importantly, we do not have territorial disputes with these countries, as with Ukraine. And so, the price of such membership is different for us,” he wrote.
According to The Times, both countries can wade in already this summer.