The proposed accession to the bloc will hurt northern Europe, including future allies, Moscow said
Sweden and Finland will lose some of their sovereignty while jeopardizing their security if they join NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Friday, citing the two nations’ expected requests for formal membership in the US-led military bloc.
Sweden and Finland have long been close to the organization but have maintained a formal freedom of alliance with NATO since the Cold War. Both can soon apply for membership in the midst of the ongoing security crisis in Ukraine. The Russian ministry warned that Sweden and Finland would not gain anything by moving forward with the plan.
NATO membership “will probably not contribute to building Sweden’s and Finland’s international prestige”, said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a comment from the Russian Ministry. She said the two nations would lose the opportunity to act as “mediators of many constructive, unifying initiatives” as they did in the past.
“Of course, the choice lies with the authorities in Sweden and Finland. But they should realize the consequences of such a transition to our bilateral relations and the European security architecture, which is currently in a state of crisis,” she added.
The official claimed that the two nations would become platforms used by NATO to threaten Russia and that neither they, nor the region of northern Europe as a whole, would benefit from it. She added that NATO membership “means the de facto transfer of part of the sovereignty in decisions on defense and also on foreign policy.”
Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently chairing the Security Council, said earlier this week that if the two nations joined the Russian bloc, they would deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea region.
Finland and Russia have a 1,340 km land border. Finland used to be part of the Russian Empire before making a successful attempt to become independent when Russia was torn apart by the revolutions of 1917. The Soviet Union and Finland fought a bloody war 1939-1940 in the run-up to World War II which resulted in certain territorial concessions from Helsinki .
Sweden was Russia’s main rival in northern Europe for several centuries, with the two powers fighting several wars for dominance. The conflict of 1808-1809 ended with the eastern part of the Kingdom of Sweden ceding to Russia as the Grand Duchy of Finland.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s final recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French mediated protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims that it planned to retake the two republics by force.