The moves by Finland and Sweden to join NATO won't be left without a Russian response, but it's premature to talk about measures that could include the relocation of nuclear weapons closer to the two Nordic countries, Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexander Glushko said.
It's too early to speak about this, Glushko told reporters on Friday when asked if NATO membership of Helsinki and Stockholm could prompt Moscow to place its nukes in the Baltic region.
Both Finland and Sweden stayed out of the US-led bloc during the Cold War, but the governments of the neighboring countries have reconsidered their positions after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February. Media reports claim Helsinki and Stockholm could apply for admission to the US military bloc in the coming days.
The deputy FM pointed out that by becoming NATO members, Finland and Sweden would give up their non-nuclear status. Despite decades of pushing for non-proliferation and the destruction of such weapons, he said that those countries will participate in NATO's nuclear planning group.
The addition of new members to NATO's borders is seen as a major threat to Russia and will be met with appropriate countermeasures by Moscow, according to Glushko.
He said that the decisions on countermeasures won't be emotional, but based on a thorough analysis of all the factors that affect the security situation in this region.
Russia does not see any reasons for Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership, as it has no hostile intentions towards those countries, Glushko assured.
The proposed new expansion of NATO will only add tensions to the region as soon as the membership of Helsinki and Stockholm is approved, the bloc will immediately claim that its northern flank is vulnerable because of the inclusion of Finland, which has resulted in a border between NATO and Russia growing by 1,300 km. This border needs to be protected, that's why we need to deploy additional contingents there and so on.