Sweden’s NATO Bid Could Intensify Tensions With Russia

Recently, a retired Russian military official has raised eyebrows, indicating President Vladimir Putin might just be planning a nuclear war against NATO. This comes at a time when there have been rising tensions between Russia and the West with particular reference to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

While the warning itself is ambiguous, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Kremlin officials, military leaders, and media propagandists have warned several times in the past that it is possible to use nuclear weapons against the West.

In January of this year, President Putin put a suspension on Russia’s participation in the joint treaty with America known as the New START treaty for a period of six months. Furthermore, Moscow revealed intentions to build up tactical nuclear weapons warehouses in the Republic of Belarus which is headed by President Alexsei Lukashenko.

Using a state-run news program, Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired Russian colonel warned the world about the possible military conflict between NATO and its countries. Khodaryonock warned Sweden (which wants to join NATO) not to make any provocative moves towards Russia.

He mentioned that rising hostilities in the Baltic Sea area would ultimately culminate in a nuclear confrontation between various NATO states.

In his capacity as a Russian military expert, Khodaryonok highlighted the gravity of the situation saying, “Still, this will actually result in a confrontation between the RF and NATO,” and this confrontation is very likely to be nuclear.

The move by Sweden to seek NATO membership is part of a growing trend in Europe for other countries to join alliances that support Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO. Turkey had initially opposed Sweden’s NATO membership application but the Turks were persuaded by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and he lifted the objections in late July.

Finland entered the league formally in April whereas other Baltic countries like Poland, Estonia, and Latvia became members from 1999-2004. According to some experts, the accession of Sweden to NATO will make the Baltic Sea practically a “NATO lake” which greatly reduces the capabilities of Russian military operations in this sea zone.

Russia’s attack on a NATO member would lead to an even bigger international showdown as the NATO treaty obligates member states to take any invasion of one member as an act of aggression against all members.