It seems that the world has bid farewell to the days of peace forever. About 13 months since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the subsequent suffocating economic crises that struck the entire world, NATO has decided to accept Finland’s membership, defying Moscow’s threats in this matter that threatens its national security, given the expansion of the alliance, as the direct border between Russia and NATO becomes 1,300 kilometers, in addition to the alliance’s position in the Arctic, which threatens to widen the circle of conflict.
For its part, Russia warned of an exacerbation of the crisis in the region. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that NATO’s embrace of Finland is a violation of Russia’s national security and interests, and that Moscow is closely monitoring how NATO exploits the territory of Finland in terms of placing weapons, systems and infrastructure there.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that Finland’s accession to NATO and the latter’s move to raise its combat readiness increases the risk of an exacerbation of the crisis in the region, and he pointed out that Russia has already transferred military aircraft to Belarus that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
At the level of Russian diplomacy, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that his country would take technical military measures and retaliatory measures to confront threats to its national security as a result of Finland’s accession to NATO.
According to experts, Finland’s accession to NATO provokes Moscow, as the former falls within Russia’s economic and security sphere of influence, which represents a challenge to Russian influence in the region, as the West is now able to threaten the Russian depth thanks to the Finnish artillery, which is considered the most powerful in the world. The step also blocks Russia in its sphere of influence in the Arctic, where Russia has become the only non-NATO member among the countries that claim Arctic lands, which heralds the outbreak of a direct military confrontation with NATO, reminding the world of the tragedies of the First and Second World Wars.
Dr. Basel Haj Jasem, a researcher of Russian-European affairs, said that there are 11,405 nuclear warheads in the possession of both Russia and the United States, and Russia is highly politically charged due to Finland now coming under the umbrella of NATO, while Washington refuses to stop taking expansionary steps to the borders of the alliance and its defensive and offensive umbrella and supporting the missile arsenal of NATO countries.
Jasem added in a statement to the Reference that Finland’s accession may be a way to ignite a third world war or a limited global confrontation, since the step came at a time characterized by intense Russian motivation towards Moscow’s national security with the expansion of the Western presence of NATO countries near the borders. He pointed out that Finland’s accession to NATO not only doubled the alliance’s common borders with Russia, but also constituted a strategic and political setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long complained about the alliance’s eastward expansionist policy, as NATO has encircled the Russian Kola Peninsula, which is a strategic area located 110 miles east of the border, where Russia maintains ballistic missiles and stores nuclear warheads, in addition to controlling the Baltic Sea near Russia’s ancient capital, St. Petersburg.
Jasem emphasized that Russia is trying to find a solution to curb the new threat map represented by the besiege of its borders by countries that owe subordination and protection to NATO, and therefore its most recent move was in Belarus, seeking to deploy nuclear and tactical missile systems, most notably the Iskander system.
Jasem stressed that the Russian forces’ training of their Belarusian counterparts since April 3 on these nuclear weapons and tactical missiles stems from a complete Russian conviction that Finland’s accession to NATO will not be the last step, as Sweden is on the way after Washington removed many obstacles in the way of its accession. Russia needs to strengthen its military defenses in the northwest and western part of its Arctic coast, and it also needs to strengthen the air defense systems in the northwest of the country to counter any possible air or missile attacks emanating from Finland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced his country’s interest in the Arctic, as he decided to allocate a large percentage of 10% of Russian government investments in the region, due to the fact that a fifth of Russian lands and about 90% of its future hydrocarbon reserves lie within the Arctic Circle, in addition to the presence of two million Russians living there, which is more than half of the world’s population in this region.
With nearly 22% of Russia’s GDP derived from the oil and gas fields above the Arctic Circle, the cold North is an integral part of the fabric of Russian culture and a symbol of their historical ambitions to reach the northernmost point of the world. This is especially the case since the ice has begun to melt in the Arctic, which makes the huge reserves of oil and gas lurking under the ocean floor usable, amounting to about 26% of the earth’s undiscovered resource reserves. All of this opens the doors wide for the development of events in the near future that put the entire world in front of a new era and on the verge of a world war.
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