Measures from Finland and Sweden to join NATO will not be provided without a Russian response, but it is too early to talk about measures that could include a move of nuclear weapons closer to the two Nordic countries, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Glushko has explained.
“It’s too early to talk about this” Glushko told reporters on Friday when asked if NATO membership in Helsinki and Stockholm could get Moscow to deploy its nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea region.
Both Finland and Sweden remained outside the US-led bloc during the Cold War, but neighboring governments have said they have reconsidered their stance following the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February. Media reports claim that Helsinki and Stockholm can apply for admission to the US-led military bloc in the coming days.
Vice FM pointed out that Finland and Sweden would become NATO members “In fact, give up … on their non-nuclear status.”
“These countries will participate in NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group,” despite the fact that for decades they have been pushing for non-proliferation and for the destruction of such weapons, he said.
NATO’s expansion towards its borders is seen as a major threat by Russia and the addition of new members, if it happens, will be met by appropriate countermeasures by Moscow, Glushko insisted.
Decisions on these countermeasures “It will obviously not be emotional, but based on a thorough and calibrated analysis of all the factors that affect the security situation in this region,” he said.
Russia, for its part, sees no reason for Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership because they have no hostile intentions against those countries, Glushko assured.
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This proposed new enlargement of NATO will only add to tensions in the region, the diplomat pointed out, declaring that as soon as membership in Helsinki and Stockholm were approved, the bloc would immediately claim that “its northern flank is vulnerable …”; which the inclusion of Finland has led to “The border between NATO and Russia is growing by 1,300 km. This border must be protected, that is why we need to deploy additional forces there and so on.”