Russia cut off electricity to Finland. Sweden considers that acts of sabotage are possible. Is Putin taking revenge on candidates for NATO membership?
Finland and Sweden want to join NATO. Finns voted in favor of membership on Sunday. In Sweden, the ruling Social Democrats have finally decided to give up their long-standing military neutrality – for the Scandinavian neighbors this is change course. There are many parallels:
- Both draw conclusions from the war in Ukraine.
- Both can expect negative reactions. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear to his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinstö in a “direct and candid” phone call that the stage a mistake” May be.
- Concern over Russians grows in both countries provocation and acts of violence.
Putin’s revenge: does he also turn off the gas tap?
First signal: Russia has stopped supplying electricity to Finland. In NATO, there will be Worst feared.
the Stop power import of Russia announced the Finnish grid operator Fingrid with reference to the statements of the Russian energy company Inter Rao in Helsinki.
Energy supply in Scandinavia: conflict with Russia over the ruble
As a reason, the Russian company explained for the electricity deliveries not having received any money in May; this was preceded by a dispute over Russian demands for payment in roubles.
The Finnish network operator assured that imports from Sweden and Norway were Security of supply guaranteed. Only about 10% of electricity consumption is covered by Russian supplies.
Ukrainian crisis – all news about the conflict
Swedish concern: Russia can commit limited acts of violence
The coming months are particularly tricky – the period when Finland and Sweden have already applied for membership but are not yet part of the alliance. Two strategies Finland and Sweden should help NATO.
On the one hand, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) talks about a “Accelerated process”. In short: the national parliaments must approve the composition as soon as possible.
NATO membership: Turkey can become a disruptive factor
On the other hand, there should be security guarantees for the candidates. The Alliance is preparing a increased troop presence in the Baltic Sea region In addition, Finland and Sweden received formal pledges of assistance from early NATO members in the event of an attack, including Britain and Norway. The Swedish and Finnish armed forces are ready to defend themselves. The Finnish army can 280,000 soldiers in case of war is mobilizing and is thus one of the strongest in Europe.
There remains a risk: Turkey. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan justified his reservations about the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO by the fact that Kurdish extremists are welcomed there.
NATO membership: Finnish president seeks talks with Erdogan
Turkey can prevent the accession of the countries of the North, because a unanimous decision of all the NATO countries is necessary. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu travels to Washington this week for deliberations. Niinistö agreed to meet Erdogan.
Especially in the delicate transition phase Russia is credited with many things: cyberattacks, Russian Navy provocations in the Baltic Sea, increased airspace violations.
A new official Stockholm government security analysis of Sweden’s NATO membership considers much larger attacks possible: Russia has the capability”limited acts of violence also to be carried out against Sweden, for example sabotage with Russian special forces or operations with long-range weapons.
The government’s analysis, in which Parliament was also involved, does not foresee a conventional military attack – Russia’s military position has been weakened by the war of aggression against Ukraine. But: “Russia could Cyberclawcarry out other forms of hybrid attacks, violate Swedish airspace or territorial waters, or otherwise behave more aggressively in the vicinity of Sweden”.
Putin’s Revenge: The Threat of Nuclear Weapons
This includes the menacing reference to nuclear weapons as well as the Relocation of military units or weapon systems in close proximity to Sweden. Most likely are various types of influence on the public or politicians.
Ukrainian War – background and explanations of the conflict
Scandinavians fear airspace violations
In Finland, politicians also express the hope that Russia Gas supply could fit. However, this is also considered manageable. Although Finland gets 94% of its natural gas from Russia, gas accounts for only 3% of Finland’s energy consumption. By way of comparison: in Germany, it is 27%.
The Russian Foreign Ministry had immediately announced reactions to Finland’s position on NATO, which would also be of a “military-technical” nature. Deputy head of the National Security Council, Putin’s confidant Dimitri MedwedewSweden and Finland have already threatened to station nuclear weapons in the Baltic region. Read also : Commentary: Putin distorts the facts
Sweden shows willingness to defend
The worsening of the situation is not unexpected. Sweden in particular has been the target of increased Russian provocations in recent months. It happened again and again Airspace violations by military jets.
After the Russian army occupied the strategically important Swedish island in the Baltic Sea shortly before the war Gotland raised the issue, the Stockholm government brought tanks to the island. This is how she demonstrated hers defensive preparation. NATO has also prepared for such scenarios.
Sweden: NATO membership can prevent conflict
The Swedish security analysis proposes international military exercises and an increased presence of NATO troops directly in Sweden as protection against Russian actions. However, it is not possible to exclude with certainty all the risks of possible Russian countermeasures. However, the analysis highlights the advantages of a Swedish system NATO membership“It would raise the threshold for military conflict and thus have a conflict-preventing effect in Northern Europe.”
This article first appeared on waz.de
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