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Russia warns of nuclear deployment if Finland, Sweden join NATO

Moscow warns it would need to reinforce itself in the Baltic Sea if Sweden and Finland join NATO

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies has warned NATO that Moscow would deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in Europe if Sweden and Finland joined the military alliance.

Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, said Russia would need to reinforce itself in the Baltic Sea if Sweden and Finland were to join the US-led military alliance.

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He also raised the nuclear threat by saying that a “nuclear free” Baltic would be off the table. “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.

He said he hoped the two European countries would see reason, warning that they would have to tolerate nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in close proximity to their territories.

Russia possesses the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal. It is one of the world leaders in hypersonic missile technology alongside China and the United States.

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European states Finland and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance. Finland will decide in the next few weeks, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday. Finland shares a 1,300km long border with Russia, from which it gained independence in 1917. Meanwhile, Sweden has not fought a war in nearly two centuries.

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