Moscow / Brussels – Movements by NATO member states near the Russian border could provoke a direct conflict between NATO and Russia. Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, warned of the threat of this conflict turning into a nuclear war. Medvedev’s warning of a nuclear war drew attention while Finland and Sweden in Europe signalled to join NATO. Meanwhile, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned that the decision taken by a country like Finland to join NATO was an anti-Russian step and would receive an appropriate response.
On Thursday, the government of Finland released a statement announcing that it would soon be applying for NATO membership. Finland’s stance on NATO has changed since Russia invaded Ukraine, and its participation in NATO will strengthen the country’s security, the statement clarified. The United States and the European Union welcomed Finland’s decision, including NATO. Sweden has said it will announce its decision soon following Finland’s decision. However, there has been a strong reaction from Russia to this.
Medvedev, Russia’s Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, made NATO aware of the consequences with a direct warning of a nuclear war. ‘NATO countries pumping weapons into Ukraine, training troops to use Western equipment, sending in mercenaries, and the exercises of Alliance countries near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia. Medvedev warned that such a conflict always has the risk of turning into a full-fledged nuclear war.
Ahead of Medvedev’s warning of a nuclear war, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov had registered an aggressive reaction to Finland’s decision. Finland’s accession to NATO is a clear threat to Russia’s security and will receive an appropriate response, Peskov said. Russia’s spokesman also made aware that there is no possibility of Europe becoming more stable and secure with NATO’s expansion. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, a leading NATO member, has signed a special security cooperation agreement with Finland and Sweden ahead of possible NATO accession. The agreement has a provision that the UK will take responsibility for its security in an attack on Finland and Sweden. At the same time, the agreement also said that the UK would increase the exchange of military and confidential information with both these countries and would also organise joint military exercises. Sweden had declared last week of receiving security guarantees from the United States.