Russia says a nuclear-free Baltic region would no longer be possible if Finland and Sweden join NATO, alluding to additional nuclear deployments in Europe.
“If Sweden and Finland join NATO, the length of the alliance’s land borders with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these borders will have to be strengthened,” Dmitry Medvedev, former president and deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, wrote on his official Telegram channel on Thursday.
Russia will have to “seriously strengthen the grouping of land forces and air defense, 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 nuclear-free status of the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” he said.
The comments come a day after Finland and Sweden said their decision on whether to apply for NATO membership would come within a matter of weeks. The countries’ leaders said their security assessments had dramatically changed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.