Dmitry Medvedev, former president and deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, warned in a statement, Thursday “it will no longer be possible to talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic — the balance must be restored” if Finland and Sweden join NATO

Medvedev further added that Russia would be forced to “more than double” its forces on the Western flank under such circumstances. He detailed on Telegram that ground and air forces would increase in numbers while Moscow would send “significant naval forces”, to the Gulf of Finland. 

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Russia has constantly wished for decreased NATO presence in Europe and had earlier asked for Ukraine’s entry into the military bloc to be turned down. Its fear of having NATO troops close to its borders, which China has agreed is a legitimate security concern, would come true nonetheless if Finland and Sweden were to join the military organization.

Ironically, it is Russia’s actions in Ukraine that have made several other European nations jittery and eager to enter the safety net cast by NATO. 

While NATO has been careful not to enter into direct conflict with Russian troops, it has made things clear that the military organization will defend every inch of its territory, thus extending protection to member nations. Further, Russian actions have caused NATO to wish to place more troops at the borders of its member nations. 

This is not the first time Russia has threatened nuclear escalation. When President Vladimir Putin first sent troops into Ukraine, he’d put the nation’s nuclear forces on high alert. The West labelled this as an unnecessary threat, and Russia later clarified that it would only consider using nuclear weapons if its existence were threatened

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