NewsSweden's NATO Membership: A New Front in Baltic Sea Tensions

Sweden's NATO Membership: A New Front in Baltic Sea Tensions

According to the Chinese analyst, the conflict between Russia and the West will intensify.
According to the Chinese analyst, the conflict between Russia and the West will intensify.
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11:26 AM EDT, March 13, 2024

Sweden's NATO membership is likely to escalate tensions between Russia and the West in the Baltic Sea region, according to a Chinese researcher. The analysis suggests that, feeling encircled, Moscow might be compelled to resort to military measures.

After almost two years of endeavors, Sweden became the 32nd member of NATO on Thursday (March 7th), as per Eastern Time.

- Together with our closest allies, we will defend liberty. The security challenges in our region are the gravest they've been since the Second World War. The threat posed by Russia is why Sweden sought NATO membership - Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson remarked on this "landmark day for our nation."

Enhanced engagement in the Baltic Sea region

"Sweden's inclusion in NATO bolsters the Alliance's operational capacity in the Baltic Sea region and holds considerable significance for Central and Eastern European (CEE) nations. Sweden, known for being a trustworthy arms trading partner, further solidifies its standing with its accession to NATO," states an analysis from the Institute of Central Europe.

Dong Yifan, a researcher at the Chinese Institute of International Contemporary Relations, offers a far less optimistic view of the situation in the Baltic Sea region.

In his evaluation, Yifan notes that Sweden's entry into NATO, following Finland's amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, has geostrategic implications that will heighten the standoff between Russia and the West. "With Finland and Sweden joining NATO, there are no longer neutral countries in the Baltic region, effectively encircling Russia with alliance members along its access to the sea," the report mentions.

According to the Chinese analyst, NATO's enlargement and the prevailing mistrust towards Russia are likely to increase military pressure on Moscow. This, in turn, may push Vladimir Putin towards taking defensive military measures in light of the perceived threats. Consequently, this escalates a "cycle of military tension, complicating rational decision-making and crisis management for both parties."

Sources: Institute of Central Europe, CGTN, WP News

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