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Putin’s Nightmare: Would Finland Put NATO Nuclear Weapons on Its Territory?

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- A B-1 Lancer continues its mission after refueling in the skies near Iraq March 25. The B-1 crew, assigned to 405 Air Expeditionary Wing, is flying missions from a forward-deployed air base supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby).

One would imagine that Russian President Putin would be very upset about this: Finland’s prime minister said that the country being accepted as a member of NATO would not mean bringing nuclear weapons into its territory.

Sanna Marin spoke with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Serra in an interview published on Thursday, soon after Finland and Sweden submitted their applications to become members of the military alliance.

She was asked about Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s comments that her country does not want permanent NATO bases or nuclear weapons on its territory even if it is accepted to join.

Marin was less forceful than Andersson in her interview, but she said that Finland likely feels the same way, and that the decision would be one taken by Finland and not imposed on it by other countries.

“It is not an actual debate, the topic is not part of the negotiations. These are national decisions. Nobody will come to us to impose nuclear weapons or permanent bases if we don’t want them,” she said.

“So I think that this topic is not on the agenda. It doesn’t even look like there is an interest to deploy nuclear weapons or to open NATO bases in Finland.”

Russia and Finland share an 830-mile border, prompting Russia to repeatedly threaten to retaliate if Finland, and its neighbor Sweden, join NATO.

This map shows how much Russia’s border with NATO grows with Finland as a member:

Support for joining NATO in both Sweden and Finland grew after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Russia’s threats have included the deployment of nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles. But, in recent days, Russia has presented a calmer tone and painted the two countries joining as something that would not pose a threat to Russia.

Claudia Romeo contributed translation to this story. Sinéad Baker is a News Reporter based in Business Insider’s London bureau.

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Sinéad Baker is a News Reporter based in Business Insider's London bureau.