Finland’s parliament speaker Matti Vanhanen said on May 16 that the Finnish parliament will hold a debate on the country’s accession to NATO.
At the same time, the decision to join the alliance is supported not only by the parliamentary majority, but also by the country’s leadership – on May 12, a joint statement was made by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin. He noted that membership in the North Atlantic Alliance would “strengthen Finland’s security”.
“We hope that the national steps still needed to reach this decision will be taken swiftly in the coming days,” the statement said.
According to the Expressen newspaper, a similar situation is developing in Sweden, which will make an official application to join the alliance on 16 May.
“On Monday, the Prime Minister will call an additional meeting of the government, where a historic decision will be made. Immediately after the meeting, if nothing unforeseen happens, an application will be made to join NATO,” the newspaper writes, citing sources in the government and parliament.
What do the Russian authorities say about this?
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Finland’s entry into NATO poses new threats to Russia’s national security, so Moscow will have to take retaliatory steps, both military-technical and other, to eliminate them.
In a statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry, it was stated that Finland’s NATO membership would seriously damage relations between Moscow and Helsinki by maintaining stability and security in the Northern European region.
The ministry points out that in this case, NATO has only one goal – to continue expanding towards the borders of Russia, to create another flank for the military threat to Russia.
“But history will judge, why turn its territory into a military front with the Russian Federation when Finland loses its independence while making its own decisions,” the agency said in a statement.
The Kremlin could not answer the question why Finland decided to abandon good neighborly relations with Russia. “This should be asked of the Finnish leadership,” said Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation. At the same time, he noted that the country’s leadership considers Helsinki’s decision to join NATO as a threat, but Moscow is preparing for such a development.
“I have always considered and analyzed various options. We have repeatedly said that NATO enlargement does not make the world and the European continent more stable and secure, the Kremlin spokesman said.
According to a Kremlin spokesperson, it is too early to talk about Russia’s possible reaction to Finland’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance:
“Everything will depend on how this enlargement process is expressed. [НАТО]How far will the military infrastructure move, approaching our borders.
There is a current presidential decree to develop a list of measures to strengthen our flanks in connection with NATO’s expansion. This will be elements of a special analysis to develop a set of measures and ensure our safety.”
Russian parliamentarians are more determined, warning that emerging NATO military facilities in Finland could become targets for the Russian Armed Forces.
So, Sergei Tsekov, a member of the Federation Council Committee on International Relations, in a conversation with socialbites.ca warned Finland on the upcoming reinforcement of the group of Russian troops near the Finnish border.
“Finland must understand that by doing so they will force Russia to strengthen its military presence on this flank and everything in it will become the target of the Russian Armed Forces. After all, everything connected with NATO’s eastward expansion led to our special operation in Ukraine. We do this, among other things, to ensure our protection,” he said.
A similar opinion was expressed by the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Relations Vyacheslav Nikonov.
“It is clear that countries that supply their territory to NATO bases, including our nuclear weapons, are targets.
Therefore, they should evaluate all risks. It is clear that this will not increase security on the European continent and in the world.” I said o socialbites.ca.
What will the results be?
Military expert Ivan Konovalov, director of the 21st Century Technology Assistance Fund, believes that the participation of Finland and Sweden in NATO will not significantly change the balance of power in the region. “Sweden has actually always been a NATO country,” the expert explained his point of view.
According to him, Finland will try not to aggravate relations with Russia, even if it enters the alliance.
“Americans will definitely try to place their infrastructure in Finland. They do not particularly need it, an attempt to do this will be made only for the sake of putting a spoke on the wheels of Moscow. Finns, on the other hand, are not a country that will let them bend their arms. Therefore, having joined NATO on the basis of the declaration, they will not allow the deployment of the alliance’s infrastructure on their territory. Because they know very well how tense relations with Russia are, ”the expert admitted.
Valdai Club Program Director Ivan Timofeev has a slightly different perspective on this. According to him, “There is nothing good for Russian interests in the participation of Sweden and Finland in NATO.”
“The relations between Russia and NATO are of a confrontational nature, the expansion of the alliance is counterproductive for Russia’s security,” Konovalov said. – Russia’s close border with NATO will increase by more than 1200 km. And we’re not going to be talking about some unimportant countries, but rich states that, if not even the largest armed forces, are at least certainly not consumers of security. You can’t ignore their potential.”
The expert noted that the Nordic countries’ membership in the North Atlantic Alliance could result in an increase or at least a redistribution of the military budget for Russia.
“In any case, we’re going to have to react to it one way or another. And maybe we’ll talk about developing our potentials in the northwest direction. Any change near state lines requires appropriate decisions. These solutions require corresponding costs. Of course we need to strengthen our northwest potentials with all the material costs that result from that.” will need it,” he said.