Russia on Thursday threatened to bolster its defences in the region, including deploying nuclear weapons if Sweden and Finland joined the U.S led military alliance, NATO.
Finland, Prime Minister, Sanna Marin on Wednesday said Finland will make a decision in the next few weeks as it shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden is considering joining the NATO alliance.
Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, on Thursday, said should Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.
Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat, saying there could be no more talk of a “nuclear-free” Baltic – where Russia has its Kaliningrad exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic, the balance must be restored,” said Medvedev, who was president from 2008 to 2012.
“Until today, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to,” Medvedev said. “If our hand is forced, well take note it wasn’t us who proposed this,” he added.