Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has failed on many fronts, but one of the most serious consequences is Finland's – almost certain – membership in NATO.The Scandinavian nation is expected to announce its intention to join NATO next Sunday, when the Foreign Affairs Committee will have drafted a response to the government's security report – which includes the option of joining the alliance. The Finnish Parliament will then hold an extraordinary debate on whether to approve the recommendations of the security report.
At this point, it is very likely that NATO will call on the country to talk about joining the alliance, and – as the Secretary General of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Thursday – it is widely believed that this will happen very soon, as Finland already meets most of the criteria and it is almost unlikely that any NATO member will oppose its membership.
Many recent polls have shown that at least 60% of Finns are in favor of joining NATO, marking a huge leap forward. from the previous high rate, which amounted to about 30% in previous years.
If that happens, it is expected that the country of six million people will have redesigned the European security map in a way that was previously considered inconceivable, and could have huge consequences for Russia.
How to Putin's reaction
But how could Russia respond?
Military moves. At the moment, Putin is busy with the front in Ukraine and so it is estimated that it is unlikely that he will make sudden moves in the direction of Finland.
Russian troops near the 1300 km common border have been redeployed to the south . However, over time, it is possible to move troops and missiles closer to the Finnish border and carry out aggressive air and naval patrols.
Hybrid war. Cyberattacks and cyber espionage have been going on for some time, targeting most European countries. These may now be targeted, especially in Finland and Sweden, if they join NATO, accompanied by the usual formal denials of guilt.
Reversal. Vladimir Putin likes to “play” strategically and not resort to tactics and may well decide that the historical neutrality of these two Nordic countries means that any decision to join NATO can be overturned.
With that is, he may choose to try to shape Finnish public opinion against NATO with the help of propaganda and misinformation.
In any case, according to the BBC, even if the war in Ukraine ultimately led to the opposite of the desired outcome for Putin – which was to halt NATO expansion to the east – the development with Finland reinforces his rhetoric, which even includes the use of nuclear weapons. The West is ignoring a major world power like Russia and threatening it by increasingly bringing the NATO alliance to its borders.