Russia Responds to Finland’s NATO Membership with Military Buildup in Western Regions
According to a report by the state-owned news agency RIA, Alexander Grushko, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, announced that Russia will increase its military capabilities in the western and northwestern regions as a response to Finland’s anticipated membership in NATO on Tuesday. In essence, this means that Russia will enhance its military readiness in those particular areas as a reaction to Finland’s potential alliance with NATO.
On Tuesday afternoon, the blue-and-white Finnish flag will raise outside NATO headquarters, officially making Finland a member of the world’s largest security alliance and doubling Russia’s border with NATO.
This strategic and political movement is a significant setback for President Vladimir Putin, who has persistently voiced his concerns about NATO’s expansion toward Russia and even used it as a pretext for his country’s involvement in the war with Ukraine.
Finland’s Application to NATO
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia sparked Finland’s application, along with Sweden’s, to join NATO. However, Turkey had initially stalled the process, alleging that Finland was supporting “terrorist” activities. As a result, Sweden’s application is still pending, and the Turkish government has yet to approve it due to similar accusations.
Despite these setbacks, NATO perceives Finland’s membership as a valuable addition since it shares a 1,340-kilometre border with Russia, making it strategically significant for the alliance.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko further remarked that in the event of other NATO members deploying their forces and resources on Finnish territory, Russia will take additional measures to guarantee its military security.
This suggests that Russia will take proactive steps to safeguard its defense in case of any potential threats that may arise from NATO’s presence near its borders.
Russia has consistently viewed NATO’s expansion towards its borders as a direct threat to its national security. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine have further heightened tensions between the two sides. NATO, on the other hand, has accused Russia of aggressive behavior, including military interventions in Ukraine and Georgia, and supporting separatist movements in various countries
ADVANTAGES OF NATO MEMBERSHIP FOR FINLAND
As a member of NATO, Finland will enjoy the collective security guarantee that an attack on any member will be treated as an attack on all, ensuring that it benefits from the alliance’s protection.
However, NATO has made it clear that it has no immediate plans to increase its presence in Finland.
While some NATO members have conducted military exercises in Finland over the last year, there are no indications that the alliance intends to establish a permanent presence in the country. Nonetheless, Finland’s membership in NATO will undoubtedly lead to closer cooperation with the alliance and potentially more joint military exercises and initiatives in the future.
With its well-trained and substantial armed forces, Finland possesses elite troops who are equipped to operate effectively in the sub-zero temperatures of the high north. The Nordic country also boasts a sizable reserve army and is currently investing heavily in new military equipment.
Notably, Finland has acquired several dozen U.S.-manufactured F-35 fighter jets, among other advanced weaponry, as part of its ongoing efforts to modernize its military capabilities. The country’s commitment to improving its defense capabilities demonstrates its preparedness to respond to any potential security threats and safeguard its national interests.