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Who can blame them? | Otago Daily Times News Online

However you present it, that barbaric butcher, Mr. Putin, miscalculated how neighbors might react to his war in Ukraine.

The Russian leader may be doing his utmost to redraw the map of Europe around Ukraine, but he is largely failing, with reports from British intelligence sources that he has now lost around a third of his military force. ‘invasion.

Instead, its aggression and unclear future actions look likely to lead to major changes on this map further north, with neighboring Finland and long-unaligned Sweden confirming their intention to join the 30-nation bloc of Europe. NATO, probably the most in the world. powerful group and definitely a good group to have on your side when there is an unstable neighbor lurking over the fence.

Mr Putin is obviously unhappy with this state of affairs.

But then he and his Kremlin associates and sycophant generals should have thought about what might happen when you force people into a corner.

He has no one else to blame for the desires of the two Nordic countries to be part of the political and military alliance and to protect their citizens and borders.

He couldn’t have done better at pushing new nations into the arms of NATO if he had tried.

Backtracking to cover up his failed plans to ensure NATO did not grow stronger by including Ukraine, Putin says he has “no problem” with Finland and Sweden, presumably in terms of sovereignty rather than their desire to be part of NATO.

However, the Guardian also reports that he has said an expanded NATO military presence in these countries would trigger a reaction from Russia, while his deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, fumes that the move would be a error which would have “profound consequences”. ”.

There are also earlier proclamations from Moscow that it would take “retaliatory measures” to restore balance in the region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.

We say congratulations to Finland and Sweden for choosing to join NATO. Who could blame them for wanting it?

While the two act together, each has slightly different motivations. Finland is in the trickiest position thanks to geography, sharing a 1,300km border with Russia and having had a checkered history of occupation and fightback.

Militarily, Finland is strong for the size of its population, more so than Sweden, which has vigorously pursued a policy of neutrality and focused more on the role of international mediator and peacekeeper.

Sweden does not border Russia, unlike Norway to the west, which has been part of NATO since its formation in 1949. But Sweden will not want to be the only Nordic country not to participate in the alliance, for obvious reasons.

The importance of their application cannot be overstated.

This marks a huge change for both from non-alignment, although there are concerns that Turkey could veto their entry, due to its claims that some Kurdish migrants living there are in fact refugees. terrorists.

So what could happen if Mr. Putin decides to attack either of the two nations while their candidacies are progressing?

Should this happen, the other Nordic NATO countries – Norway, Denmark and Iceland – have pledged their support, as has the United Kingdom, which signed a mutual security pact a few days ago. with both.

NATO is the real thorn in Russia’s side and will prove far more of a deterrent to Mr Putin’s unconventional and murderous actions than the United Nations, whose serious weaknesses have been exposed in its inability to do much -thing to stop the aggression.

Mr Putin was delusional thinking he could invade a democracy on his doorstep and get away with it.

It turns out to be a disaster for him and, with the departure of the Finns and the Swedes, the support at home and around him will decrease.

He bit off more than he can chew and seems to have actually strengthened NATO rather than weakening it.

Could this be the beginning of the end?