Featured Graphic by Destiny Mizell
Story by Noah McLane
Finland was officially accepted as a member of NATO on April 5 and is now the fifth member state to share a border with Russia, adding to Russia’s growing list of struggles.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted in response, “I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at NATO HQ in the coming days. Together we are stronger and safer.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not agree. Putin plans on strengthening Russia’s forces near the nation’s western border.
“We will strengthen our military potential in the western and northwestern direction,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Russian media. “In the event that the forces and resources of other NATO members are deployed in Finland, we will take additional steps to reliably ensure Russia’s military security.”
However, this may prove difficult since an estimated 97% of Russia’s army is currently in Ukraine according to UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Russian attempts to break through in places like Bahkmut have failed while Ukrainian Armed Forces announce the arrival of Western tanks like the German Leopard 2’s and British Challenger 2’s.
Russia was also observed moving old T-54 and T-55 tanks, which have not been in production since 1981, out of storage and towards the battlefront to make up for the 2000 tanks lost since the beginning of the invasion last February.
The deployment of these decades-old, Soviet-era armored vehicles further demonstrates just how strained the Russian army is.
This comes just months after Putin issued a partial mobilization of “ military personnel serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation under a contract.”
The addition of Finland to NATO is a threat in the eyes of Putin.
While there is no current legal avenue for Finland or NATO to invade Russia, as per the treaty, the 832-mile border is yet another mark on Putin’s growing list of concerns.
Noah McLane is the environmental reporter for MTSU Sidelines.
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