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Russia warns of nuclear deployment if Sweden, Finland join NATO

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland joined the US-led military alliance then Russia would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in an exclave in the heart of Europe.

Finland, which shares a 1,300km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin [File: Evgenia Novozhe Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that, should Sweden and Finland join NATO, then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.

Medvedev also explicitly raised the nuclear threat on Thursday by saying that 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 Russian president from 2008 to 2012.

Medvedev said he hoped Finland and Sweden would see sense. If not, he said, they would have to live with nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles close to home. nina /Reuters]Deputy chairman of Russia’s security council says ‘there can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic’ if Sweden and Finland join the transatlantic military alliance.

Russia has the world’s biggest arsenal of nuclear warheads and, along with China and the United States, is one of the global leaders in hypersonic missile technology.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked about Medvedev’s comments by journalists, said that “this has been talked about many times” and President Vladimir Putin has issued an order on “reinforcing our western flank” due to NATO’s growing military potential.

Asked if this reinforcement would include nuclear weapons, Peskov said, “I can’t say … There will be a whole list of measures, necessary steps. This will be covered at a separate meeting by the president.”

Lithuania said Russia’s threats were nothing new and that Moscow had deployed nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad long before the war in Ukraine.

Putin has said the “special military operation” in Ukraine is necessary because the US was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people.

Ukraine has said it is fighting an imperial-style land grab and that Putin’s claims of genocide are nonsense. US President Joe Biden has said Putin is a “war criminal” and a “dictator”.

Putin has claimed the conflict in Ukraine is part of a much broader confrontation with the US which he said is trying to enforce its hegemony even as its dominance over the international order declines.

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