Vladimir Putin threatened Finland and Sweden that if they sought NATO membership, he would move his nukes close to the Baltic Sea. Finland defied Russian threats by saying that the threats would not affect their decision. The trouble with bullies is that sometimes their threats can cause their victims to band together and have the exact opposite response from what they wanted in the first place.
Haavisto also said that if Finland does submit an application for membership, it will happen in the next six weeks.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 17, 2022
Finland and Sweden have been neutral in military conflicts since 1948. NATO started in 1949. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused public sentiment for membership in NATO to rise. Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto reflected that sentiment in his remarks reported on Twitter. Putin’s threats against Finland and Sweden not to join NATO apparently are making the countries nervous enough to do just the opposite of what Putin intended.
The Russian threats to Finland and Sweden included both the threat of placing nukes near the Baltic Sea, as well as “military and political consequences.”
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A Wake Up Call
The nations of Finland and Sweden have trusted Russia for decades, in spite of history that shows Russia has tyrannical tendencies. Even after the invasion of Crimea in 2014, they remained “neutral.” The invasion of Ukraine is different – the destruction of Ukrainian cities, the displacement of millions, and the deaths of citizens has provided a “wake up call.”
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