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Are there any signs / military observations that Russia is preparing for a military attack against Finland and Sweden to delay NATO's admitting Finland and Sweden?

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    I'm sorry, but questions which ask us to predict future developments are off-topic here.
    – CDJB
    Jul 5, 2022 at 15:49
  • Yea I agree, the question prompts too much speculation. Jul 5, 2022 at 15:54
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    User is a newcomer, question is, correctly, closed. No great need to waste your precious rep points downvoting. Unless, of course, you want to be a welcoming community member and explain how to post better questions ;-) Jul 5, 2022 at 16:51
  • The question can be somewhat improved by removing the speculative part ("to delay NATO admission"). It will be still very hard to answer.
    – fraxinus
    Jul 6, 2022 at 10:15
  • The answer to this (i.e. "reasons" for Putin's involvement in Ukraine) may be clarified by the recent history in Ukraine as seen in this question about the situation in Ukraine during last 8 years and this 3 year old question.
    – neo
    Jul 9, 2022 at 21:39

2 Answers 2

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No, in fact Putin has explicitly drawn a distinction between Sweden/Finland joining NATO and Ukraine.

"We do not have such problems with Sweden and Finland, which, unfortunately, we have with Ukraine. We have no territorial issues… no disputes… we have nothing that could bother us from the point of view of Finland's or Sweden's membership in NATO.

He did however say that if NATO infrastructure is deployed in Finland and Sweden, then Russia will respond.

"Only they should plainly and clearly realize that there were no threats before, now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in a mirror manner and create the same threats to the territories from which threats are created to us," he stressed.

So if Russia attacks Finland/Sweden, it won't be to "delay" NATO admitting them, it'll be because of NATO deployment in those countries.

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    Russia was denying the would invade Ukraine until a few days before. In fact you posted an answer here (that you've since deleted) calling such talk "Western hysteria". Nowadays Putin's words are worth a lot less than satellite imagery. Jul 7, 2022 at 3:40
  • @Fizz sure. But any other answer is still speculation. And I acknowledged that answer was wrong by deleting it. I don't see you deleting your blatant falsehoods in this answer: politics.stackexchange.com/a/73803
    – Allure
    Jul 7, 2022 at 3:41
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No large scale troops movements have been reported in the press (in the direction of Finland), but then with Russia still making slow progress in Ukraine, I'm not sure anyone is expecting a quick Russian blow in the north. If anything, satellite pictures show that some troops located near the border with Finland have departed possibly to reinforce the offensive in Ukraine. Some (former) officials from the Finnish defense establishment gave a similar assessment.

Some sources claimed Iskander ballistic missile batteries were seen moving towards Finland, but they turned out to be anti-ship missiles, and Finnish authorities dismissed the move as routine. According to Swedish authorities, some Russian bombers entered Swedish airspace around Gotland in March. A similar incident happened in May but involving a "spy plane". However the latter kind of actions are probably nothing more than intimidation attempts. (Finland also reported a couple of airspace violations this year, although it's more debatable if those were intended to send some kind of message or were accidental, given the transport nature of the helicopter & aircraft involved.)

The "any signs" part of the Q might be a bit speculative... especially regarding long[er]-term plans. One should remember that the densely populated area of Finland is not large (despite the otherwise lengthy border) and that e.g. in 2008 Russia managed to concentrate significant forces to strike into Georgia in approximately one week after the border incidents intensified. In that conflict, Russia also launched (surprise) amphibious operations that the Finish coast is also susceptible to, at least in theory.

It's also worth recalling, however, that Finland and Sweden are in the EU, which has a mutual defense clause of its own, albeit having been the topic of some (varying) interpretations. The UK also gave some assurances of military assistance to Finland and Sweden in a recent agreement (without getting into specifics, publicly), and so has the US (thanks to @JJJ for pointing out the latter.) The risks for Russia in terms of attracting substantial intervention/interference if it were to attack Finland and Sweden are probably thus even higher than for what happens in Ukraine, let alone what they were for the war in Georgia.

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  • The US has provided Finland and Sweden with security guarantees as well. See for example this Reuters article and this statement by the US president
    – JJJ
    Jul 7, 2022 at 7:41
  • @JJJ: thanks, but those are not "security guarantees" in how that term is commonly understood (treaty). I would agree they qualify as assurances. I'll add to my ansswer. Jul 7, 2022 at 7:47

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