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One thing Vladimir Putin’s premeditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has accomplished is to strip away any illusion that Russia is much more than an ineffectual bully. The prime example of this is how Putin has repeatedly waved about the threat of nuclear weapons.

It started very early (Putin Orders Russian Nuclear Forces on Alert Status as His Ukrainian Adventure Stalls), and Biden inexplicably fell for it (Joe Biden’s Defense Department Cancels a Long-Scheduled Missile Test Because of Offending the Russians, The Need for an Iran Nuclear Deal). Putin has since continued to make nuclear threats on at least a weekly basis.

One incident was when Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zarahova seemed to threaten Sweden and Finland with a nuclear attack if they joined NATO.

Russia threatened “military and political consequences” against Finland and Sweden on Friday if they attempted to join NATO.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned against other countries attempting to join NATO after Russia started a war with Ukraine Thursday.

“Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging the security of other countries and their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences,” Zakharova said in a viral clip of a press conference.

The ministry later posted the same threat on its Twitter. Finland and Sweden have given significant military and humanitarian support to Ukraine since Russia invaded.

A story that happened shortly after this threat is only now finding its way into the media.

Two Russian planes that violated Swedish airspace earlier this month were equipped with nuclear weapons, it has emerged.

The flyover near the island of Gotland on March 2 was a deliberate act designed to intimidate Sweden, according to Swedish news channel TV4 Nyheterna.

A total of four planes had taken off from the Russian air base of Kaliningrad.

They consisted of two Sukhoi 24 attack planes, which were escorted by two Sukhoi 27 fighter jets.

It was the two attack planes which were, according to TV4 Nyheter sources, equipped with nuclear weapons.

The violation of Swedish territory lasted for about a minute.

The country’s air force deployed two JAS 39 Gripen which took pictures of the intruders.

It was then, say Swedish media, that it was confirmed the Russian planes were equipped with nuclear warheads.

‘This is a signal to Sweden that we have nuclear weapons and we could also consider using them,’ military strategic expert Stefan Ring told TV4 Nyheter.

‘We assess it as a conscious action. Which is very serious especially as [Russia] is a warring country,’ added Air Force Chief Carl-Johan Edström.

‘I can not rule out incorrect navigation, but everything indicates that it was a deliberate act. That they violated Sweden’s borders.’

We’ve known about the violation of airspace since it happened. However, the revelation of the nuclear weapons is new.

There are three things of note here. First and foremost, the decision to fly nuclear-armed aircraft into another nation’s airspace cannot be a mistake, and it is probably an event unique in the military history of the world. Second, the fact that the Swedish Chief of the Air Force did not bat down the story confirms its truthfulness. Third, there is only one reason I can think of that would inspire the Swedes to make this information public.

Both Finland and Sweden have a lot of reasons for joining NATO. A few weeks ago, I posted on the subject in Putin’s Threats to Sweden and Finland Are Much More Real Than They Are Being Given Credit For. That fear has spiked in the wake of Putin’s war in Ukraine.

In that post, I point out that Finland and Sweden, which are not part of any military alliance, have borders with Russia, and they are in an area where Russia is trying to establish dominance.
This childish stunt looks like it may do what the USSR could never do, convince Sweden and Finland to join NATO.

By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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