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Finland’s NATO membership would more than double the bloc’s border with Russia

The border between Russia and NATO members would more than double if Finland decides to join the military bloc this year.

NATO’s land border with Russia would reach 1,586 miles if the Nordic country decided to apply for membership.

Finland and Sweden are debating whether to join the military alliance, potentially ending decades of neutral foreign policy towards Russia, after the Kremlin ordered the invasion of non-NATO member Ukraine end of February.

The military alliance now shares a 754-mile land border with Russia, according to NATO’s own statistics.

Members of the Lithuanian Armed Forces disembark from Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters on March 1, 2022 in Kazlu Ruda, Lithuania. Saber Strike 2022 is an element of Defender-Europe 2022 large-scale military exercises between US troops and allied forces. NATO’s borders with Russia could more than double if Finland joins the bloc.

Currently, Russia borders NATO members Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Europe. But if Finland joined the defensive alliance, it would add 832 miles to NATO’s existing border with Russia.

While Sweden’s proximity to Russia would prove to be a strategic asset for the bloc, it does not share a border with the country.

Tensions between NATO and Russia rose dramatically after Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine in what he continues to call a “special military operation”.

Last month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the bloc had tried to engage with Moscow until the invasion.

In a March 31 statement, Stoltenberg said: “We prepared for the worst, but we worked hard for the best. We did everything possible to engage in dialogue with Russia, but Moscow systematically refused us and finally decided to sever diplomatic relations.”

Newsweek contacted NATO and the Kremlin for comments.

On Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin discussed their possible NATO membership in a joint press release in Stockholm.

Marin said she hoped to reach a consensus in the Finnish parliament, but seemed optimistic that a deal could be reached quickly.

She said: “I won’t give any type of timeline when we make our decision, but I think it will happen quite quickly, in weeks not months.”

The possibility of NATO adding two new members near Russia’s borders has drawn veiled threats from the Kremlin, with former President Dmitry Medvedev hinting that nuclear weapons could be moved to the Baltic region.

Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, issued the warning on his Telegram channel, according to Tass, a state-controlled news agency.

He said: “If Sweden and Finland join NATO, the length of the land borders of the alliance with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these borders will have to be reinforced.”

The official added: “In this case, we will no longer talk about a non-nuclear status of the Baltic, the balance must be restored.

“So far, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to take them. If we are forced, well ‘note that we did not offer it’, as the hero said from the famous old movie.”


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