Russia’s war and security in the High North

Minna Ålander 🌻

Out now in English - analysis of the implications of Russia’s war in Ukraine on security in the High North by myself & M. Paul (@SWP_IntSecurity). Big shifts to follow up north, e.g. 🇫🇮 & 🇸🇪 NATO aspirations and future of Arctic security without 🇷🇺…

For Finland, the long-term basis of foreign policy - good relations to Russia - is gone and the emphasis in security policy is shifting to finding new ways of increasing 🇫🇮 security vis-à-vis Russia.

Support for 🇫🇮 NATO membership has stabilised at around 60% in recent polls

Also in Sweden, support for joining NATO has risen notably and fluctuates at around 40-50%. The govt is reluctant to change long-term non-alignment policy, however.

From 🇸🇪 perspective, the defence of the island Gotland (only 330km from Russian exclave Kaliningrad) is key

According to Swedish TV4, the two Russian aircraft that violated 🇸🇪 airspace on 2 March had nuclear weapons. Such incidents are likely to occur in the deteriorating security situation in the Baltic Sea region & bear high escalation potential…

Looking further up north, Russia has been building up its military (including nuclear) capacity in the Arctic, with its northern fleet main base at Kola Peninsula in the vicinity of Finnish border.

The future of Arctic cooperation is currently under a big question mark due to the international isolation of 🇷🇺. Large part of the Arctic region is in 🇷🇺 territory, however, so both the environmental & security situation of the Arctic are likely to deteriorate as a consequence

Although Russia’s economy depends on the Arctic, with most of its natural resources located in the Arctic region, economic considerations don’t seem to be a priority for Putin. Hence, escalation up north is possible

Germany has long viewed its northern neighbourhood exclusively through an economic lens. If #Zeitenwende is to mean something, 🇩🇪 needs to adapt a more strategic view of the Baltic Sea region and include the North in its security policy concept.