by Luke McGee | Nation World News
When Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, his goals were clear. He wanted to bring his neighbor to heel, assert Russian power in Eastern Europe, and think twice about expanding the West toward Russia’s borders militarily and politically.
But in one important case, Putin’s plan appears to be failing: The war has united the West against Moscow in ways that seemed unimaginable in January.
Now, Finland and Sweden – countries that are officially non-aligned – are moving towards joining the US-led military alliance NATO.
Finland is expected to present a report on the country’s security policy this week, potentially an important step on the road for a nation applying to NATO.
That report is expected to start discussions in Finland’s parliament whether to pursue membership in the coalition – discussions which Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said he hoped will end “before mid-summer”.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Havisto said on Monday that it is “important” that neighboring Sweden is following a “similar process”, which he expects to take time. “But of course we exchange information all the time and hopefully if we make similar decisions, we can make them at the same time.”
Sweden holds an election later this year in which NATO is likely to be a major campaign issue, with mainstream parties not objecting to joining the coalition.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson did not rule out the possibility of membership in an interview with SVT in late March. Sweden is analyzing the security policy which is due to be completed by the end of May, and the government is expected to announce its position after that report, a Swedish official told Nation World News. He said his country could make its position public soon, depending on when neighboring Finland does.
Public opinion in both countries has changed significantly since the invasion, and NATO allies and officials are fully supportive of both countries’ involvement. The only serious objection could come from Hungary, whose leader is close to Putin, but NATO officials think it will be able to bend the arm of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Given that Putin began his war by demanding that NATO withdraw its borders to the 1990s, this fact has also been seen as representing a diplomatic disaster for Moscow. And if Finland were to get involved specifically, Putin would suddenly find Russia sharing an additional 830 miles of border with NATO.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Monday that the expansion of NATO would not bring further stability to Europe.
“We have said time and again that an alliance is itself an instrument of confrontation. This is not an alliance that provides peace and stability, and further expansion of the alliance, of course, will not lead to greater stability on the European continent,” he said.
The head of NATO’s military committee, Rob Bauer, told reporters on Tuesday that the coalition had not ruled out new members, but said it was ultimately up to Finland and Sweden whether they wanted to join.
Bauer said, “It is a sovereign decision of any nation that wants to join NATO to apply for membership, which they have not done so far… we are not forcing anyone into NATO, Bauer said.
Nor has Putin’s aggression prompted Ukraine to back down from its desire for closer integration with the West. While the country is unlikely to join NATO, its efforts to join the EU have accelerated since the start of the war. This would take too long and could also face stiff opposition from Hungary, which is already in a fierce battle with Brussels over violations of the rule of law, prompting the EU to suspend central funding to Budapest. has been offered.
However, once again, the fact that is being talked about and the level of support among EU leaders and officials is another indication of how united the West has become against Russia.
It is worth noting that since the start of the war, the West has remained largely united in its response to Russia, whether through economic sanctions or military support for Ukraine.
However, some challenges are emerging that will test how cohesive this coalition against Russia really is.
First, if it turns out that Russia has used chemical weapons in Ukraine, there will be enormous pressure on the West, especially NATO, to play an even more active role in the war – something the Coalition has so far failed to do. has been reluctant.
NATO members have already discussed the red lines and what action should be taken in the event of chemical weapons, but those details are still private to prevent Russia from taking pre-emptive protective action.
However, any NATO intervention would almost certainly lead to a less stable security situation in Europe, as the West would risk a military confrontation with Russia – a nuclear power, which would most likely exert its influence over Ukraine and possibly in other areas of traditional territory. Will respond by intensifying attacks. Russian influence.
Second, the cost of living crisis in many European countries could soon test the unity of future Western sanctions on Russia and sanctions on Russian energy.
If, ultimately, the economy of Western Europe is deemed more important than blaming Russia for waging war on its peaceful neighbour, Putin may be able to escape somewhat by invading an innocent country.
But for now, as unity has largely prevailed, it is clear that Putin’s desire to undermine the Western coalition has been turned upside down – and that the strongman has worked hard for his nation, possibly for years to come. status has been achieved.