NewsNATO's major exercises in Finland stir controversy amid Russian critique

NATO's major exercises in Finland stir controversy amid Russian critique

Moscow comments on the planned NATO exercises in Finland
Moscow comments on the planned NATO exercises in Finland
Images source: © PAP | Tomasz Waszczuk
1:49 PM EDT, April 24, 2024

Major NATO alliance exercises will kick off in Finland in just a few days as part of Steadfast Defender 2024. These exercises, spanning air, land, and sea maneuvers, are stirring up controversy, especially due to their proximity to the Russian border. Moscow has criticized the exercises, accusing NATO of "deliberately inciting hysteria."

The ongoing war in Ukraine has significantly shifted the Western perception of potential threats from Russia. In response to the escalating conflict, Finland and Sweden swiftly applied for NATO membership, a move that was favorably received. This expansion essentially transforms the Baltic Sea into what could be seen as an "internal lake" for the alliance, a development that Russia, with its significant Baltic presence, views unfavorably.

Russia's response to NATO troops in Finland

The introduction of Finland and Sweden into NATO heralds the onset of substantial military exercises in Finland. These exercises will witness the deployment of around 90,000 troops, accompanied by over a thousand vehicles ranging from naval assets to air combat units.

The considerable aggregate of military assets near its borders has not escaped the Kremlin’s notice. In light of this, Maria Zakharova, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, has voiced concerns, stating that these maneuvers "increase the risk of potential military incidents." She further accuses NATO of propagating false narratives about Russian intentions to attack alliance members.

"to justify their aggressive aspirations, representatives of the North Atlantic bloc are deliberately fomenting hysteria around an imaginary Russian 'threat'," explained RIA Novosti.

Throughout the discussion with RIA Novosti, Zakharova clarified the Kremlin's displeasure over Finland's NATO membership, lamenting the loss of Finland's long-standing neutrality tradition.

It's important to approach information from Russian media and officials with caution, as much of it could be misleading and serve as part of Russia's information warfare strategy.

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