Following earlier this month both Finland and Sweden signaling their intent to join NATO, close Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, has warned that the Western military alliance is engaged in a military buildup along Russia’s borders.
“A senior Russian official said on Tuesday that NATO’s reinforcement of its borders with Russia was no longer a figure of speech and Moscow should be prepared for possible aggressive action, Russia’s TASS news agency reported,” according to Reuters. “NATO’s expansion near Russia’s borders is no longer a figure of speech or a set of threats, we must be prepared for aggressive action,” he said according to a translation.
The fresh words follow Medvedev’s prior threats to position nuclear and hypersonic missiles along Russian’s western border in the scenario that Finland and Sweden join NATO. The prospect of Finland, which is said to be studying the issue, joining the alliance is especially alarming for the Kremlin, given Russian and its Scandinavian neighbor share a 810-mile border. Sweden, though a little less important geographically, has already announced its intent to join the alliance.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Medvedev said previously.
But now on Tuesday, he’s heightened the rhetoric further by saying, “We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.” Medvedev stated further according to state-run TASS, based on a rush translation:
“And this is no longer a figure of speech today, this is not a set of standard threats. We must be prepared for those aggressive actions that may happen.”
The thrust of his words were toward encouraging the rapid technological advance of the country’s defense capabilities amid the new ‘NATO threat’ – given the remarks were delivered before a national conference on science and education. He stressed that “it is important to build up, among other things, a system that allows you to provide the country with the most modern weapons.”
“And this requires reliable, high-tech, powerful equipment – both military and dual-use,” the deputy head of the Security Council added, explaining that the situation did “not arise by itself, especially in those conditions when sanctions have been imposed on the country.”
He described that it’s a matter of “survival of the state” -ending the comments on an ominous note, also at a moment Western leaders have of late raised the specter of Putin using nuclear weapons should Russian forces be on the verge of defeat.
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries have appeared to increase their supply of weapons to Kiev, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday night confirming that fresh planeloads of US-supplied weaponry have arrived in Kiev.