Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Thursday that Russia would deploy nuclear weapons near the Baltic and Scandinavian countries if Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO.
A post by the former Russian president (2008-2012) and deputy head of the Russian Security Council on Telegram stated that if the two countries joined NATO, this would more than double the length of Russia’s land borders with NATO countries.
“It is natural that we have to strengthen our borders,” he continued.
He added, “In this case, it is no longer possible to talk about a non-nuclear situation in the Baltics. The balance must be re-established,” noting that Russia would have the right to deploy nuclear weapons in the region. The former Russian president said that Russia would “significantly strengthen its ground forces and air defenses and deploy significant naval forces in the Gulf of Finland.” In response to a question about Medvedev’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “this matter has been repeatedly raised” and that President Vladimir Putin has issued an order to “strengthen our western flank” in response to a possible military expansion of NATO. When asked whether this buildup would include the deployment of nuclear weapons, Peskov said: “I can’t say. There will be a long list of measures, necessary steps. The president will take up this matter in a separate meeting.” And the military activities of Moscow in Ukraine turned upside down the mood of public opinion and the positions of the political class in Finland and Sweden, which have always adopted a policy of non-alignment militarily. Finland announced this week that it will decide within weeks whether to apply to join NATO, while Sweden is considering applying for membership in the bloc.