Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, warned in a statement on Thursday that the Russian army will “more than double” its forces in Russia’s western flank if Sweden and Finland join NATO.
Ground and air defense forces would be reinforced, he wrote on Telegram, and Russia would deploy “significant naval forces” in the Gulf of Finland.
If Sweden and Finland join NATO, Medevedev added, “it will no longer be possible to talk about a non-nuclear status of the Baltic Sea – the balance must be restored.”
Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 in a four-year interregnum for Russian President Vladimir Putin who ruled for two decades, has taken a belligerent stance in recent months, although he is not a top decision-maker.
A 2018 report by the Federation of American Scientists concluded that Russia may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russian territory between Poland and the Baltic states.