Finland and Sweden have reached the final round in the process of joining NATO. And as this time draws closer, the prospective nations’ positions on the stationing of Alliance forces on their soil become more obvious.
The Kremlin did its best to convince the Russians that the membership of Finland and Sweden does not constitute the “NATO enlargement” that they purportedly oppose in Ukraine when it became known that these two nations will join the Alliance.
For instance, this is a different scenario, and it is said that the Finns and Swedes themselves reached some deals with the Russians. A few months later, it became evident that nobody is at all interested in what the Kremlin thought about this issue.
Finland and Sweden would accept to deploy nuclear weapons
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin was asked whether her country would deploy nuclear weapons on its territory in peacetime after the country joins the Alliance. Before the nation formally joins NATO, Marin stated that her government does not intend to “shut any doors” or place restrictions on participation.
Finland does not allow any national exceptions to its rule. This implies that they don’t commit in advance to the deployment of any particular weaponry, bases, etc. At the moment, Sweden is also very close to this position. They have not just fundamentally reconsidered their neutrality, they have reconsidered their security approaches in detail, – Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in 2014-2019, explained in an exclusive comment to Channel 24.
At the same time, Sweden fully shares the position of Finland in this matter. Ulf Kristerson, the prime minister of Sweden, remarked that having a common strategy and cooperating on such issues is fairly natural for his nation.
It’s noteworthy that such claims were made when these nations are just a few weeks away from completing their NATO membership. After all, the use of nuclear weapons is hardly a typical event, not even in NATO nations.
NATO’s Nuclear Sharing program
Only the United States, the United Kingdom, and France now have their nuclear weapons among the NATO nations.
However, NATO has a program called Nuclear Sharing for sharing its nuclear arsenal. Germany serves as the primary illustration of such a foreign nuclear weapon deployment. During the Cold War, Americans there deployed a part of their nuclear weapons.
However, the mere existence of nuclear charges is not all that significant. We are referring to launch vehicles, aircraft, ships, submarines, and any other specialized machinery that may be utilized to transport nuclear missiles.
Following that, there was essentially no visible nuclear arsenal proliferation, even among NATO member states. However, Russian aggression and repeated threats to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine or Western nations have brought this subject back into the public eye.
Poland wants to acquire American nuclear weapons too
Poland has previously made it known that it wants to participate in the NATO nuclear sharing program. President Andrzej Duda calls on the Americans to do so.
“First and foremost, the lack of nuclear weapons is the issue. There are no indications that the Polish side will soon have them deployed. The opportunity to take part in the Nuclear Sharing program is always there. We have discussed whether such an option is being considered by American leadership. The topic is open”, Andrzej Duda said.
The decision-making process may take many years, but this precedent alone demonstrates that the Russians, with their constant threats, have reversed the global trend toward nuclear non-proliferation. It is only logical that Poles wish to stop Russian aggression given the massive bombardment of harsh rhetoric Russian propagandists are currently using against Poland.
Therefore, any nation that is now close to Russia and is also a member of NATO may request from the Alliance some sort of nuclear reinforcement as an additional measure of defense against potential Russian assault for the sake of its security.
As part of the Nuclear Sharing program, the participating nation will also get more American troops stationed there to follow and guard the nuclear arsenal in addition to the nuclear weapons themselves.
Additionally, the United States will offer more security measures, including missile defense measures.
Russia has achieved the expansion of NATO to its borders
Preventing NATO expansion was one of the critical objectives of Russia’s alleged “special operation” against Ukraine. NATO, on the other hand, gained momentum as soon as it became clear how much the Russian force is worth on the battlefield and how dangerous Russia is.
Even among the former members of this alliance, arguments regarding the necessity of joining this Alliance and, generally, military spending in peaceful Europe have taken place before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. After February 24, things started to come together.
Russia attempted to threaten Finland and Sweden for the first time when they declared their willingness to join NATO, significantly escalating the situation on the border. The Swedes and Finns, however, ignored it.
Russian authorities came up with new “excuses” when it became clear to the Kremlin that this process could not be reversed. Although popular support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO was fairly low by the end of 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first said that the membership of these two nations was obvious and had been planned for a long time. Only about a third of the population supported this idea.
US to sell weapons to Finland
By the way, the US authorized a potential arms sale to Finland on November 2. They are considering guided multiple-launch rocket systems along with associated hardware and support. These weapons are estimated to cost $535 million.
Earlier, the Finnish government requested that the US sell them 250 M31A1 or M31A2 Unitary systems, 150 GMLRS, or M30A1 or M30A2 MLRS. Additionally included in the package are the services of a quality assurance team, transportation, relevant software, and logistical support components.
The Kremlin claimed that Sweden and Finland supposedly agreed not to host NATO military bases on their soil in response to the rather clear question of where the Russians’ “red line” on not expanding NATO had gone. However, as we can see today, this is yet another creation of the Russians, and Sweden and Finland are considering the placement of both military installations and the nuclear arsenal of the Alliance.
NATO and the West as a whole have dealt Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s leading “geostrategist,” yet another setback. After all, this demonstrates his incompetence in achieving the goals that he laid down both in the aggression against Ukraine and in the struggle against the West.
Security landscape in Northern Europe will shift
Already, Putin will have to deal with the significant political blows from Stockholm and Helsinki. The Russian ruler finds it extremely painful to even bring up this subject. The security landscape in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe will drastically shift once Finland and Sweden formally join NATO.
The only way the Russians can retaliate is by fortifying Kaliningrad with nuclear weapons.
Putin, however, made every effort last year to obstruct the supply of air defense systems to Ukraine, claiming that they could be used to launch attacks against Russian territory. He even calculated the distance a missile would travel from Kharkiv to Moscow.
Why does Putin fear missiles in Kharkiv, and not in Finland?
Today, the Kremlin is ashamed to use this mantra about flight time. First of all, it appears that their opinion is no longer taken into consideration. Secondly, we are discussing nuclear weapons, which can be deployed by up to two newly admitted NATO countries, rather than conventional missiles that Ukraine could launch.