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Backyard .. Do Sweden and Finland fear the fate of Ukraine?

The possibility of the two Scandinavian countries joining NATO worries Moscow, which, through its Foreign Ministry, expressed its concern about this matter, speaking of dire consequences, given that the two countries are “Moscow’s backyard.”

Finland, the former Russian province between 1809 and 1917, shares a common border with Russia that extends over 1,300 km.

Moscow sees NATO as a strategic threat to its influence in the region, and demands that it not approach its borders, while NATO defends the policy of open doors for countries to join it, and the sovereignty of those countries over that decision.

An opportunity for NATO

Political analyst Amid Shoukry told “Sky News Arabia” that the accession of the two countries represents an opportunity for NATO due to the nature and geography of the two countries and their military capabilities.

Shoukry, senior foreign policy and energy security advisor at the Washington-based Gulf States Analytics Center, added that the two countries not only enjoy pre-existing deep defense cooperation at the bilateral level, but also cooperate in multilateral forums, such as the Nordic Defense Cooperation ( NORDEFCO), the European Union, the United Nations and NATO, both of which have a strong interest in maintaining stability in the Baltic Sea region.

He explained that, “Given the state of public opinion in both Sweden and Finland, it is unlikely that either country will join the alliance in the foreseeable future, except for any significant changes in relations between the European Union and Russia, and this is consistent with two government reports published in recent years, sponsored by the governments of Finland and Sweden, respectively.

He continued, “The countries of the Nordic region play a direct and indirect role in ensuring the security of the Baltic states. Historically, the Baltic states had a very close relationship with the Nordic countries. Denmark and Norway have played an important role in developing the military capabilities of the Baltic states since the end of the Cold War, and Sweden and Finland, despite They are not members of NATO, they have a close security relationship with the Baltic states.”

He noted that “there is Russian concern about the US and NATO’s dependence on non-NATO members Sweden and Finland for reliable defense or liberation of the Baltic states. Sweden and Finland are important US allies and close NATO partners. However, neither is obligated to assist any A NATO member in the event of an armed attack. Therefore, the United States should plan accordingly.”

He stressed that “after the war in Ukraine, NATO should support the accession of these countries and send military weapons against possible Russian attacks on these countries, as well as defend the infrastructure of Finland and Sweden against Russian cyberattacks,” stressing that “Russia cannot attack these countries.” Easily”.

Join is incoming

On the other hand, Italian political analyst Daniele Rufiniti considered that the two countries’ accession to NATO is “possible if not certain,” referring to the Finnish Prime Minister’s suggestion that the invasion of Ukraine might increase support for joining NATO in her country.

He considered that Russia’s threat to Finland and Sweden that they “will face some military consequences” if they try to join NATO is an open threat that comes at a time when Moscow is testing its threats.

“Sweden and Finland feel Russian pressure, and see themselves in direct contact with the dynamics that have affected Ukraine, although there are clearly profound differences. The presence of the war in Ukraine and the fears from where they can If Putin targets him later, it could create a broader situation where the security of Finland and Sweden may indeed require closer relations with the alliance.”

On the possibility of a repeat of Ukraine’s fate in the two countries, he said: “This would be a huge thing, although Putin’s moves are unpredictable now. The attack on these two countries would be crazy, with potentially serious consequences. Threats against Finland and Sweden show the broader danger posed by the Putin regime, They stress the vital importance of a strong and united response to the invasion of Ukraine.”

Russia threatens

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press conference: “All the countries participating in the OSCE in their national capacity, including Finland and Sweden, reaffirmed the principle that the security of some countries should not be built at the expense of security of other countries.

“It is clear that the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, which is essentially, as you well understand, a military bloc, will have serious military and political consequences that require our country to take reciprocal steps,” Zakharova added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had announced earlier that he had invited Finland and Sweden, which are not members of the organization, to participate in the virtual emergency summit of the alliance, Friday, on the situation in Ukraine.

“The country is ready to apply for NATO membership if the question of its national security arises,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said at a parliamentary meeting.

Military reinforcements

Recently, Sweden increased its military readiness and sent soldiers and heavy military equipment to its largest island, Gotland, which is strategically located in the Baltic Sea, only 330 kilometers from Kaliningrad, the headquarters of the Russian Baltic Fleet.

In 2019, Sweden, realizing that it lacked decisive military capabilities and would not be able to defend itself against a Russian attack, decided to increase its military spending by about 40 percent, with an increase in the military budget of 27.5 billion Swedish kronor ($3.1 billion) by year 2025.

Unlike Sweden, Finland, which shares a long land border with Russia, has not stopped investing in its defense capabilities. It recently ordered 64 F-35 fighters, worth $9.5 billion, to replace its current and old combat aircraft.

Former Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Finland could mobilize a reserve force of 280,000 trained soldiers, which no other country in Europe could do.

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