While formerly neutral, Sweden and Finland have jointly decided to join NATO in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland’s accession in particular will impact the military balance in the Baltic-Nordic theater of contention between Russia and the alliance. Joining NATO would be the culmination of a longer alignment process for Finland. […]
Lastly, this leads to the issue of strategic stability. In particular, the Finnish air force already on paper has the potential to hit the Russian Northern Fleet’s submarine bases in Murmansk Oblast, only 400 km from the FDF’s northernmost active airbase in Lapland. Adding NATO and especially the US Air Force to this equation might cause concerns in Moscow that the seaborne component of its nuclear architecture is permanently under threat. Further South, NATO’s aerial firepower would equally put Kaliningrad under increased threat, especially once Sweden and Finland are added. This would likely force Moscow to increase its surveillance and air defense infrastructure in the Kola Peninsula, increasing the strain on its war and sanctions-hit economy or at least diverting resources earmarked for other areas of military modernization.
In deterrence equations, perceptions are more important than one-sided inferences. With the attrition suffered by conventional forces in Ukraine, Russia by default will have to lean on nuclear threats to coerce its neighbors and to, in its view, deter NATO. It may thus be an even more volatile actor in crisis situations if the Northern Fleet and Kaliningrad are deemed at threat. Consequently, while Finland NATO membership will likely increase its own and NATO’s security significantly, it will likely have side-effects that impact alliance-Russian dynamics going forward. Läs artikel