Ukrainian experts have analyzed Russia’s reaction to the filing by Finland and Sweden of an application to join NATO. In their opinion, the entry of this country into the Alliance is unlikely to change the current alignment of forces, because NATO has long dug in at the very borders of the Russian Federation.
Recall that in recent weeks Finland and Sweden have launched active preparations for joining NATO, the government agencies of the two countries have already launched the necessary procedures for this. Russia has warned that the infrastructure of the Alliance on the territory of these states “may become targets for the Russian Armed Forces.” Experts doubt that the Scandinavian countries can really go for the deployment of NATO military bases on their territory. At the same time, they admit that if Helsinki and Stockholm join the Alliance, Russia will be forced to increase its military budget.
On May 16, the Finnish parliament will hold a debate on the issue of the country’s accession to NATO, said the speaker of the Finnish parliament Matti Vanhanen. The decision to join the Alliance is also supported by the leadership of the country – on May 12, the President Sauli Niinistö and prime minister Sanna Marin released a joint statement, noting that NATO membership would “strengthen Finland’s security.”
A similar situation is developing in Sweden, which, according to media reports, will file an official application for joining the Alliance on May 16th.
According to the international expert of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Elijah Kusathe position of Finland and Sweden was a reaction to the special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, while the real danger to these countries does not threaten.
“On May 16, Russia is convening a CSTO summit in Moscow in response to Finland and Sweden’s application to join NATO. The CSTO member countries can gather, no one forbids them to do this, but I can’t imagine any real actions on their part. Now, when the military operation in Ukraine is dragging on, the resistance of the CSTO countries will be much higher, Kusa is sure. – The participation of any of the CSTO countries in a military operation on the side of Russia is too risky, expensive and “toxic”. In addition, there is no formal reason for this – after all, according to the CSTO charter, the organization can react if an attack occurs on one of the member countries. Russia, on the other hand, has not officially declared war on anyone – accordingly, until this happens, it cannot be said that other countries owe it something.
According to an international expert, Russia can make threatening statements, but it is extremely unlikely that it will attack Finland or Sweden.
“Because it would mean a direct attack on the Alliance and would entail a much stronger military response from the West. Such a war is unprofitable for Russia in principle – it does not have enough resources to achieve military goals in direct confrontation with the Alliance, the expert is sure. Besides, the entry of these two countries into NATO will not significantly change the alignment of forces between the West and Russia. Finland and Sweden were already very closely integrated into Western Euro-Atlantic structures. So, in principle, their entry into NATO just formalizes the existing alignment of forces.”
The analyst of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future recalled that one way or another, NATO has long dug in at the very borders of Russia, especially if you look at Kaliningrad or Poland, at the Baltic countries.
“Therefore, Russia will not react more seriously than with statements or retaliatory sanctions. Most likely, this is done for an internal audience. Russia is trying to explain to its population why they should respond to what Moscow has been calling the “red line” for years. Against the background of the military operation, the Russian leadership is already forced to explain to the people why retaliatory sanctions against the West are being introduced, and why “you need to be patient,” Ilia Kusa noted. “In addition, military-aggressive rhetoric strengthens the influence of marginal groups in Russia that have not previously dominated its political space — Dugin’s followers, etc. This contributes to the polarization of society, exacerbates emotions and internal political and ideological contradictions.”
Recall, on May 13, an expert in the field of energy Igor Yushkov stated that “the EU is trying to force Russian operators to pump fuel into storage facilities.”
Earlier, Austria threatened Gazprom to take away the gas storage facility in Salzburg if it is not filled with “blue fuel”. And the German authorities arrogated to themselves the right to nationalize critical energy infrastructure facilities.
Gazprom is no longer trying to keep gas storage facilities in Europe. The EU is now requiring operators to meet the 80% storage requirement by early October. That is, Gazprom must purchase fuel from itself,” said expert Yushkov.
In his opinion, if these requirements are met now, then in winter Europe can declare that they have a state of emergency due to a shortage of gas, “and they can simply confiscate it along with storage facilities.”