Moscow / Washington / Kyiv – Russia will deploy additional nuclear weapons in the Baltic region if Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia’s Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev warned. In addition to the nuclear deployment in the Baltic, Russia will increase its defence deployment in the Gulf of Finland, Medvedev warned. The leaders of Sweden and Finland met recently. In it, both countries have signalled that they will speed up the proposal of NATO membership. There has been a strong reaction from Russia.
Moreover, NATO member states, including the United States, have become aggressive against Russia following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. NATO member states have begun efforts to strengthen the anti-Russian front in Eastern Europe more while providing large-scale arms assistance to Ukraine. The moves for NATO membership in Finland and Sweden are considered part of that. Both Finland and Sweden had so far avoided joining NATO. The people of both countries were also opposed to NATO participation. But the media has claimed that the conflict in Ukraine has begun changing the public opinion between the two countries.
Even before, Russia has consistently opposed NATO expansion. Ukraine’s ongoing efforts for NATO membership were also a major factor behind the military action in Ukraine. Russia had issued a stern warning earlier that the NATO expansion would destabilize Europe, and Russia will have to take necessary steps for its security. But now, with the meeting between the leaders of Finland and Sweden and their signals about NATO membership, Russia seems to become more aggressive.
Medvedev’s warning is part of that. ‘There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored. (Russia had) not taken such measures and was not going to, but if our hand is forced, well … take note, it wasn’t us who proposed this. Naturally, we will have to reinforce these borders,’ Medvedev warned. Russia has a Kaliningrad defence base in the Baltic region. It had surfaced that Russia has also earlier carried out other nuclear deployments, including Iskander, at the base in Poland and Lithuania. However, Medvedev’s statement indicates that Russia will increase its nuclear deployment more after the induction of Sweden and Finland into NATO.
Meanwhile, the United States has announced fresh defence assistance to Ukraine. Under this, it will supply arms worth $800 million to Ukraine. These include radars, helicopters, drones, tanks, armoured vehicles and missiles. The United States has supplied $1.7 billion of arsenal to Ukraine since the start of the conflict.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry claimed an attack on a missile cruiser ship Moskva, leading Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine said the attack was carried out with the help of Neptune missiles stationed near Odessa. Ukraine has said the Russian warship is about to sink. Although Russia has acknowledged that the warship was damaged, it has rejected the Ukrainian claims of assault and other damages.