News Release

NATO, Russia and Nuclear Threats


Reuters reports in “Russia warns of nuclear, hypersonic deployment if Sweden and Finland join NATO” that “Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that should Sweden and Finland join NATO then Russia would have to strengthen its land, naval and air forces in the Baltic Sea.”

Mello is executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group. He said today: “At this point NATO is the largest military organization on the planet, with military investments greater than all other nations put together. Russia cannot hope to match NATO in overall military firepower. It is entirely predictable that the further expansion of NATO would evoke a response from Russia that emphasizes its nuclear forces.

“It doesn’t matter too much where those Russian nuclear forces are, especially since the U.S. abrogated the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty. Russia has many nuclear-capable delivery systems. It would be a shame if more of these acquired nuclear warheads” were to be deployed “in response to an increase in perceived threat from NATO, in the event that Sweden and Finland were to join NATO.

“In that event, Russia will need to consider the likelihood of NATO nuclear assets being based in or launched from these countries, in addition to nuclear weapons that could be launched from the nearby seas, other NATO countries, and from the air via stand-off missiles. The threat assessment time available to Russia in the event of a perceived attack from NATO would be very short, almost nonexistent.

“There is no question that the expansion of NATO raises the overall risk of nuclear war to a much higher level than it is today, which is already higher, in my estimation, than has been seen since the early 1980s.

“Let us hope that mature voices in Sweden and Finland can dial back these impulsive responses we are seeing to war propaganda that is filling informational channels right now. As Hannah Arendt remarked, where there is no free press, ‘anything is possible.’ That ‘anything’ now includes the extermination of the human race. Everybody needs to stop, investigate what has really been going on, think, and talk — not take impetuous actions that will make matters far worse.”

Background: See IPA news release “Will Congress Save Nuclear Treaties with Russia?” from 2018.