Suècia abandona la ’neutralitat’; Finlàndia la segueix; satisfacció bàltica; amenaces russes

Suècia fa el pas: demanarà l'ingrés a l'OTAN

La idea de la primera ministra sueca és que el país s'uneixi a l'Aliança el mes de juny

Anna Solé Sans
Foto: Efe
Barcelona. Dimecres, 13 d'abril de 2022. elnacional.cat
Magdalena Andersson Sanna Marin finlandia suecia

Suècia sembla decidida. Fa el pas i demanarà l'ingrés a l'OTAN. L'objectiu de la primera ministra sueca, Magdalena Andersson, és que el país s'uneixi a l'OTAN el mes de juny d'aquest any, segons informa el diari suec Svenska Dagbladet. La informació arriba en paral·lel amb Finlàndia, que ha presentat aquest dimecres el seu nou informe de política i seguretat.

Tot just aquest dimarts, el diari suec Expressen explicava en un dels seus articles que Finlàndia havia expressat un desig clar al govern suec que els dos països actuessin junts i sol·licitessin conjuntament el fet de ser membres de l'OTAN. Aquest dimecres estava previst que la ministra finlandesa, Sanna Marin, arribés a Estocolm per conversar amb la seva homòloga sueca. Segons detalla el diari, sembla que tots dos països voldrien sol·licitar ser-ne membres de manera conjunta. 

Fins ara, "neutralitat"

Fins ara, tot i la proximitat amb Rússia (Finlàndia comparteix una frontera de 1.300 quilòmetres), els dos països es mantenien "neutrals" en matèria de defensa, tot i els vincles econòmics amb la Unió Europea. Si finalment tots dos països acaben incorporant-se a l'Aliança, l'OTAN passaria a tenir 32 membres i es reforçaria. Ara per ara, arriba fins a Noruega i Països Bàltics (Estònia, Letònia i Lituània). 

Segons recull el diari britànic The Times, fonts pròximes al govern nord-americà, principal impulsor d'aquesta doble adhesió a l'OTAN de Finlàndia i Suècia, haurien dit que "Putin ha comès un gran error estratègic". Les mateixes fonts, hauria reiterat el mateix diari, recullen que "es tracta d'un tema constant en les converses durant les reunions".

Putin ho veuria com una amenaça

Moscou ja ha dit que una incorporació a l'OTAN de Suècia i Finlàndia seria considerada com "una amenaça a tota l'arquitectura de seguretat i ens portaria a prendre mesures addicionals". El portaveu del Kremlin, Dimitri Poskov, s'ha expressat d'aquesta manera en nombroses rodes de premsa on han sorgit preguntes similars. Davant la publicació d'aquestes informacions dilluns, tal com recull El Mundo, Poskov hauria anat més enllà. "L'aliança és una eina de confrontació", va dir. "Una expansió més gran no portarà una seguretat addicional al continent".

Imatge principal: Magdalena Andersson i Sanna Marin, primeres ministres de Suècia i Finlàndia, respectivament. Les dues funcionàries han mantingut converses que s'espera que se centren en els desenvolupaments posteriors a la invasió russa d'Ucraïna i la possible adhesió a l'OTAN / Efe

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NORDIC NATO PLANS

PREPPING FOR NATO: Finland will take a decision on NATO membership within “weeks rather than months,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced Wednesday, with Sweden also moving closer to joining the alliance. Speaking at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm, Marin confirmed a membership application is imminent. Andersson also gave her strongest signal yet that Sweden is poised to join. “There is a before and after 24 February,” she said, referring to the day Russia invaded Ukraine. “This is a very important time in history. The security landscape has completely changed.” POLITICO’s Lili Bayer and Charlie Duxbury have more.

WHITE PAPER: As previewed in Playbook, a Finnish government report published on Wednesday kick-started the debate on the country’s membership of the alliance. While as expected, it didn’t make a recommendation on joining, the report did make a series of significant points: that Finland already has a strong defense capability and is “interoperable with NATO,” and that membership “would not oblige Finland to accept nuclear weapons, permanent bases or troops in its territory.”

NEXT STEPS: NATO is likely to move quickly on any membership requests. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that Finland and Sweden could “easily” join the alliance, pointing out that they both meet NATO standards when it comes to interoperability. (Both countries have regularly attended NATO meetings in Brussels in recent months.) But all existing NATO members must approve their application — let’s see if Hungary’s Viktor Orbán gives his OK.

BIG PICTURE: The accession of Finland and Sweden would be a watershed moment in the history of the transatlantic alliance, changing the European security landscape. It would also achieve the very thing Russian President Vladimir Putin has been railing against: a strengthening and expansion of an organization that was formed in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union.

NOT FOR EVERYONE: Not all the militarily neutral countries in the EU are keen to follow, though. Ireland’s European Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne told Playbook there are no plans for Dublin to join NATO. “The polls are not showing an appetite by the Irish public for NATO membership at the moment,” Byrne said. “If any government were to rush into it, I think it would backfire tremendously.”

Not doing nothing: But, Byrne added, Ireland has taken “very significant steps” to reassess its own defense resources, and is participating in EU efforts like the European Peace Facility and common security and defense policy (CSDP) missions.

14-IV-22, politico

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Finland and Sweden weigh joining NATO

In a rapid response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and despite threats from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, of “serious political and military consequences” — both Finland and Sweden are now seriously debating applications for membership in NATO and are widely expected to join the alliance.

Should these militarily nonaligned Nordic countries opt to do so, it would be yet another example of the counterproductive results of Putin’s war in Ukraine. Instead of crushing Ukrainian nationalism, Putin has enhanced it. Instead of weakening the trans-Atlantic alliance, he has solidified it. And instead of blocking NATO’s growth, he has catalyzed its potential expansion.

At a news conference in Stockholm yesterday with Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish prime minister, Sanna Marin, the Finnish prime minister, said a decision on whether to apply for membership would be made “within weeks.” The subsequent application process could take a year or more.

NATO response: Officials said only that the alliance has an open-door policy and that any country wishing to join can ask for an invitation. The secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said simply: “There are no other countries that are closer to NATO.”

14-IV-22, nytimes

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Finland and Sweden consider joining NATO

Finland and Sweden are considering whether to apply for NATO membership in the coming weeks and are widely expected to join, underscoring how the invasion of Ukraine has backfired for President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Instead of crushing Ukrainian nationalism, he has enhanced it. Instead of dividing NATO and blocking its growth, he has united and perhaps enlarged it.

The prime ministers of the two nonaligned Nordic countries held a press conference in Stockholm today, with Finland’s leader saying a decision could be made “within weeks.”

Meanwhile, the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia visited Ukraine on Wednesday in a sign of support, as investigators accelerated their efforts to collect evidence of reported Russian atrocities outside Kyiv. An initial report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe found “clear patterns” of violations of international law by the Russian military.

13-IV-22, nytimes

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DRIVING THE DAY: FINNS LOOK TO NATO

TO JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN: Finland is gearing up for a historic decision, as the country considers joining NATO. The debate, reignited by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is expected to kick off in earnest today when the government presents a white paper on security.

Background: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February has refocused attention on Finland’s security needs. The Nordic nation shares a 1,340 kilometer border with Russia. Polls have shown support in Finland for NATO membership has doubled to 60 percent in recent weeks, with one on Monday showing 68 percent of Finns backed joining the military alliance, compared to 12 percent against the move. Significantly, a recent poll found that only six of Finland’s 200 MPs opposed NATO membership.

Russian context: “Finland’s security environment changed in the early hours of February 24 as Russia launched its attack,” Finance Minister Annika Saarikko declared last weekend as she announced a change in her Center Party’s stance on membership. Similarly, the Social Democrats, the party of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, are reevaluating their long-held opposition to joining NATO. 

Next steps: Today’s security report won’t take a stand per se on NATO membership — but the Finnish parliament will then debate the white paper and give its recommendation to the government and president. Marin said a decision will be taken “before mid-summer,” with the expectation that Finland will formally apply to join NATO next month, ahead of the alliance’s summit in Madrid in late June.

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DONE DEAL: Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, a longtime proponent of NATO membership, told Playbook that an application is likely by mid-May. “It’s a no-brainer — both for NATO and Finland,” he said, pointing out that Helsinki is already closely aligned with the alliance. (Finland has dozens of military jets, a well-resourced army and participates in NATO training programs.)

Historic times, historic decisions: Stubb said history has always influenced Finland’s decision-making process, with the country making big leaps at significant junctures: “We declared independence with all the risks it involved during the Bolshevik revolution in 1917; Finland accepted peace in 1944 losing parts of Karelia; while in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, we filed for EU membership immediately.” The decision to join NATO would be “part of a continuum, a historic trajectory towards the West,” Stubb added. 

RUSSIAN REPERCUSSIONS: Russia has warned Finland against joining NATO, and Moscow is expected to launch some form of hybrid attack against the country in response. In a sign of what could be to come, several government ministry websites went down during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to the Finnish parliament last week, while a Russian plane violated Finnish airspace earlier this month.

PUTIN’S LATEST MISCALCULATION: Of course, underpinning Finland’s newfound interest in NATO is a rich irony. Through invading Ukraine, Putin has served to strengthen the very alliance he wants to undermine.

WHAT ABOUT SWEDEN? Finland isn’t the only Nordic pondering joining NATO. Sweden’s ruling ​​Social Democrats have commenced an internal debate about joining the alliance, too. Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish prime minister, said last month she does “not exclude NATO membership in any way.”

30 BECOMES 32: There are expectations the two Nordics could join the alliance together. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Monday at the EU foreign affairs ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg that the countries exchange information all the time. “Hopefully if we make similar kinds of decisions we could do them around the same time,” she said. 

NOW READ THIS — JOIN WHILE YOU HAVE THE CHANCE: Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in an opinion piece for POLITICO that Stockholm should seize its chance to join NATO, given it’ll never be this easy again.

13-IV-22, politico

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Rusia amenaza con un despliegue nuclear en el Báltico si la OTAN admite a Suecia y Finlandia

La nueva guerra fría

Dimitri Medvédev, vicepresidente del Consejo de Seguridad y muy próximo a Vladímir Putin, asegura que Moscú tendría que "restablecer el equilibrio" si sus vecinos ingresan en la Alianza

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Dimitri Medvédev, junto al presidente de Rusia, Vladímir Putin, en una imagen de 2016. Entonces, Medvédev era primer ministro 

AP

Dimitri Medvédev, uno de los hombres más cercanos al presidente ruso, Vladímir Putin, advirtió este jueves de que la entrada de Suecia y Finlandia en la OTAN obligaría a Rusia a reforzar sus defensas en la región, incluido el despliegue de armas nucleares.

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Según el político, que fue presidente de Rusia entre 2008 y 2012 y hoy es vicepresidente del Consejo de Seguridad, en el caso de que los dos países escandinavos se unan a la OTAN, no se podrá hablar de ningún estatus libre de armas nucleares en el mar Báltico.

Una región en tensión

Ya no se podrá hablar de un estatus libre de armas nucleares en el mar Báltico, dice Medvédev

Rusia tendría que fortalecer seriamente sus fuerzas terrestres a lo largo de las fronteras con la Alianza Atlántica y desplegar significativamente sus fuerzas navales en el golfo de Finlandia, escribió en su canal de Telegram.

Medvédev apuntó que para Rusia "en general, no es tan importante" cuántos países forman parte de la OTAN, si son 30 como ahora, o 32. Pero la integración de Suecia y Finlandia duplicaría la longitud de las fronteras terrestres con la organización occidental y Moscú tendría que fortalecerlas seriamente.

Habría que "fortalecer seriamente las agrupaciones de las fuerzas terrestres y las defensas aéreas, desplegar sustancialmente fuerzas navales en el golfo de Finlandia. En este caso ya no se podrá hablar de ningún estatus no nuclear del Báltico - El equilibrio debe restablecerse", escribió Medvédev.

Nuevos desafíos

Rusia fortalecería sus fuerzas terrestres, sus defensas aéreas y la fuerza naval del golfo de Finlandia

Finlandia, que tiene una frontera terrestre de 1.300 kilómetros con Rusia, y Suecia comenzaron a plantearse unirse a la OTAN en el contexto de la intervención rusa en Ucrania, que en Moscú llaman "operación militar especial". El parlamento de Helsinki debatirá esta cuestión en las próximas semanas, según anunció el miércoles su primera ministra, Sanna Marin.

“Tenemos una larga frontera con Rusia y vemos cómo Rusia está actuando ahora en Ucrania”, mencionó Marin. “Tenemos que preguntarnos cuál es la mejor manera de asegurarnos de que esto nunca ocurra en Finlandia”, anticipó. Afirmó, a su vez, que el proceso a la hora de tomar la decisión será “bastante rápido”.

No importa el número

Para Moscú no importa si la OTAN tiene 30 o 32 socios, pero con Suecia y Finlandia se duplicaría la longitud de la frontera terrestre

Moscú se ha pronunciado repetidamente contra la expansión de la Alianza Atlántica, alegando que eso daña su seguridad. A finales de 2021 propuso a Estados Unidos y otros miembros de la OTAN un proyecto de garantías de seguridad para Rusia que incluyera la renuncia a esa expansión hacia el este y la instalación de bases en exrepúblicas soviéticas. En enero de 2022 se mantuvieron varias reuniones, pero no dieron resultado.

Rusia cuenta con dos salidas al mar Báltico, una a través del golfo de Finlandia, donde se encuentra San Petersburgo; y otra gracias a su enclave de Kaliningrado, que se encuentra entre Polonia y Lituania y es sede de la Flota rusa del Báltico.