Latvia, Riga-Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has set Finland aside long-standing concerns about provoking Russia and demanded access to NATO, Russia’s major strategic setback.

Invasion also means that Russia can do little about it.

Russian troops were involved in fierce fighting in Ukraine, and their ranks were depleted by the sharp loss of personnel and equipment. As Russia withdrew its troops from the Finnish border and sent them to Ukraine, Moscow’s ability to threaten Finland militarily was greatly reduced.

Russia supplies Finland with small amounts of gas and oil, but Finland was already preparing to cut off these supplies in accordance with the European Union’s decision to reduce Russia’s dependence on energy. One of the possible early actions was taken on Saturday after Russian state-owned company RAO Nordic announced that it had stopped exporting electricity to Finland, but whether the move was intended as a punishment. Was unknown. Russia has accused Western sanctions on the move, saying it made it difficult for Russia to receive payments for supplies.

Finland shrugged off that action. Finnish officials said Russia’s electricity imports have already been curtailed to prevent possible attacks on the country’s infrastructure, with Russia’s electricity accounting for only 10 percent of its consumption.

Russia may launch cyberattacks on Finland’s infrastructure or wage hybrid warfare to shake Finnish public opinion, but Finland has a highly developed system to counter such efforts. Said former Finnish Army Major Pekka Toveli. Intelligence.

“They don’t really have much that can be used to threaten us,” Tooveri said. “They have no political, military or economic power.”

Finland’s decision, which is expected to be officially announced on Sunday, will upset the balance of power along the northern border of the NATO alliance. In the next few days, Sweden is expected to follow Finland’s leadership and seek NATO accession. However, Finland’s accession has the greatest impact on Russia, doubling the size of Russia’s border with NATO and completely surrounding the three ports of the Baltic Sea.

Finland has been refraining from joining NATO for decades for fear of provoking a larger nuclear-armed neighbor. And Russian President Vladimir Putin survived those fears with the vague threats of war in Finnish airspace and waters and the menacing acts of harassment.

The Ukrainian invasion overturned that calculation and urged Finns to conclude that it was safer under NATO’s protection than was left to deal with Russia alone. Before the war, only 20 percent of Finns supported NATO membership. By May, that number had reached 76 percent.

The Finns also concluded that the unexpected and disastrous performance and retreat of Russian troops on the Ukrainian battlefield suggests that it no longer poses the threat of the past, Tooveri said.

“Russia was so weak that it couldn’t risk a humiliating defeat,” he said. When Russia tries to send troops to Finland, “in a few days they will be wiped out. I think the risk of humiliating defeat is high and they can’t accept it.”

For the Kremlin, “it’s a really ironic moment,” said Lauren Speranza, director of the Transatlantic Defense and Security Department at the Center for European Policy Analysis. Deterring NATO expansion was one of Putin’s declared goals of attacking Ukraine, which was seeking NATO accession. Finland and Sweden did not — until the invasion of Ukraine, she said.

From Neutral to NATO: How Finland and Sweden Migrated Russia’s Invasion

“Putin not only made a big mistake in his military goals in Ukraine, but also expanded NATO, which was the exact opposite of what he wanted,” Speranza said. “This emphasizes how big a strategic miscalculation this was.”

Already, Moscow seems to be dialing down the threat of retaliation. On Saturday’s phone call, Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinistö that Finland’s decision to join NATO was “wrong” and could have a “negative effect” on relations between Russia and Finland. Kremlin.

Niinistö, who initiated the call, urged Finland to seek protection provided by NATO’s security alliance, especially in his “massive aggression” into Ukraine, according to a statement in his office. I told Putin frankly that there was.

“The conversation was direct, straightforward and did not get worse. It was considered important to avoid tension,” he said.

In the weeks prior to Finland’s announcement, Russian officials warned of dire consequences, including the deployment of nuclear weapons nearby and the dispatch of military reinforcements to the Finnish border.

Since then, they have become more cautious, saying that Russia’s response depends on how far NATO goes to establish its presence on the Russian border.

Russian press will demand that this decision provide Russia with a “political reaction,” as Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Saturday.

“It’s too early to talk about the deployment of nuclear weapons in the Baltic region,” he added, adding that “Moscow is not emotionally guided” when deciding on a response.

Russia said it would conduct a “thorough analysis” of the composition of new troops at the border before deciding on a response, and the extent of Russia’s retaliation would be the amount of NATO’s military infrastructure established at the Russian border. It reflects Peskoff’s comment that it depends.

After the formalization of accession, NATO has not yet decided what kind of presence it will establish in Finland and Sweden. This can be months ahead. New problems have arisen in the form of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s opposition to membership because Sweden is accepting members of the illegal Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

How the addition of Finland and Sweden will change NATO

However, according to analysts, Finnish membership is unlikely to require a significant presence in the NATO army. Finland has a strong and well-equipped army that regularly conducts training exercises with NATO countries. The army is already well integrated with NATO’s military system.

Dmitry Suslov, of the Faculty of Higher Economics, Moscow’s National Research University, said the threat to Russia’s strategic interests was so great that Moscow would be forced to take some action against Finland.

At the very least, Finland is no longer considered a “friendly” country, so Russia needs to strengthen its military presence along the Finnish border, he said. He also said it would increase the Navy’s presence in the Baltic Sea and become a “Lake NATO”.

If the United States or Britain establishes bases in Finland, Russia “has no choice but to deploy tactical nuclear weapons to target those bases,” Suslov warned.

Former Finnish General Tver said Finland is preparing for further action simply because President Putin may feel the need to save his face. But Finns have been accustomed to living with hostile forces at the border for decades and do not feel overly threatened, he said. “We are accustomed to the fact that Russians are there. Most Finns are not too worried about it.”

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