Russia seems to be doing whatever they want. Everyone knows what the air space rules are of the countries they fly into. There’s no pretending otherwise.
Well, Russia not only flew into Swedish air space – they did so with nuclear weapons onboard. As for the problem – it’s hard to know where to start.
Putin is a bully – and he’s ready to show this to the world. From the very beginning of the Ukrainian invasion, the Russian president threatened the use of nuclear weapons. After all, that’s a threat that no one wants to see come to life, which means that they’ll give Russia the room that is needed to stay safe.
Russia doesn’t want anyone else to join NATO because it means that they could face more of an attack. Russia wants to be able to do whatever it wants without feeling bullied – there’s only room for one bully in the world if you’re Putin.
This means that Sweden and Finland both have been threatened with nuclear attacks if they move to join NATO. In fact, Maria Zarahova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman made it pretty clear. There would be “military and political consequences” for the two countries. This was mentioned during a press conference – and the ministry followed up with the same threat on Twitter.
Now, both Finland and Sweden have shown where their allegiance stands. They’ve offered military and humanitarian support to Ukraine. They would rather side with sanity than with Putin.
Not long after the threat was made by the Ministry, two Russian planes equipped with nuclear weapons flew over Swedish airspace. It was a deliberate act – and the goal was to intimidate Sweden.
The violation only lasted a minute, but it was clear that Russia knew what they were doing. Military strategic expert Stefan Ring shared that “This is a signal to Sweden that we have nuclear weapons and we could also consider using them.”
This violation took place nearly a month ago – but we just learned that they actually had nuclear weapons on board. That changes everything. It means that Russia could actually be willing to go through with their threat if they feel that it is necessary.
Considering that many have spoken about the mental state that Putin is in (it’s not a good one), there’s no saying what could happen next. There have been plenty of threats coming out of Russia. At this point, we have to expect that they could make any of it happen – and that includes cutting Europe off from Russian gas and oil.
Sweden’s Prime Minister doesn’t want to give in to Russia and its threats. They haven’t ruled out NATO membership, particularly with the way that Russia has simply invaded Ukraine.
Sweden has always remained neutral. They didn’t want to have any kind of military alliance. However, if Russia’s leader has lost their mind, Sweden needs to feel protected – and the military alliance of NATO can offer greater peace of mind.
So, it’s either join NATO and risk nuclear weapons being launched on the country or not join NATO and risk Russia invading them once they’re done with the Ukrainian invasion. It’s hard to know how to make that kind of decision.
Russia has made it clear that they want to establish dominance. Both Sweden and Finland border Russia to the west. Considering that Russia is looking to expand past its current borders, NATO may be the only protection that the two smaller countries can get.
It’s a crapshoot either way, which means that we have to wait and see what the countries will do. If Russia invades their air space with more nuclear weapons, NATO may help to make the decision for them.