Monday, June 17, 2024

Putin escalates tensions with Nato after flying bomber over Finland

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Vladimir Putin has breached Nato airspace by flying a Russian military plane at least 2.5km inside Finland.

Russia had confirmed that numerous bombers and missile carriers operating in the Baltic region over “neutral waters”, however, did not specifically mention the alleged breach.


The Finnish Ministry of Defence has said that it has since launched an investigation into the incident, where they claim bombers infiltrated their airspace for two minutes.

“We take the suspected territorial violation seriously and the investigation has been started immediately,” Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen said in a statement.

Putin has breached Nato airspace by flying a Russian military plane over Finland

Getty/Putin

The complaint is Finland’s first against Russia since joining Nato last spring. The two countries share a 830-mile border.

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington DC addressed the incident yesterday: “This reported incursion likely forwards the ongoing Kremlin effort to undermine Finnish sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Last month, a document that was published on a Moscow government portal called for a reassessment of maritime borders in the Baltic Sea, which includes the Gulf of Finland.

The report said that Russia would redetermine its borders in the region, first established in 1985, because they are “based on outdated small-scale nautical navigation maps”.

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The complaint is Finland’s first against Russia since joining Nato last spring

Wikimedia Commons

Putin denied the claims and the report was quickly deleted, with local military sources saying that “does not have any intentions of revising the state border line, economic zone, and continental shelf” in the region, according to Russian media.

Following the report, Lithuania accused Moscow of “escalatory provocations to intimidate neighbouring countries”.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Micael Byden said that he was confident that Putin has “both eyes on Gotland”, referring to the strategically important Swedish island.

“Putin’s goal is to gain control of the Baltic Sea,” he said. “Who controls Gotland controls the Baltic Sea.”

No explanation was given regarding the deletion of the document from the government portal, however, a former adviser to the Russian mission to the UN said it could be due to an administrative error.

A Russian Tupolev TU-160 jet bomber fly over Red Square

The Finnish Ministry of Defence has said that it has since launched an investigation into the incident, where they claim bombers infiltrated their airspace for two minutes

GETTY

Yesterday, Putin said that Europe is “defenseless” against his atomic arsenal comprising over over 5,000 weapons.

Speaking at a forum in St Petersburg, the Russian president said that he had “many more [tactical nuclear weapons] than there are on the European continent – even if the United States brings theirs over”.

He continued: “Europe does not have a developed [early warning system]… In this sense, they are more or less defenceless.”

In Europe, just Britain and France control their own nuclear stockpiles, owning 225 and 290 warheads respectively.

The US maintains a tactical arsenal of around 100 in the following five European countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

In total, Europe’s 600-strong nuclear arsenal represents just 11 per cent of Russia’s stockpile.

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