The Swedish general's direct warning to Finland should be taken seriously

Valtteri Varbela

Iltalehti news editor Valtteri Varbela writes that Russia's unpredictability will increase as the war situation in Ukraine changes.

The stark warning from the commander of the Swedish Defense Forces, Michael Byden, is based on analyzes by the country's intelligence services. AOP

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The headlines of Swedish newspapers in the last few days have been screaming about the threat of war in a very unusual way after the speeches heard at the Sälen security conference.

Above all, the speeches suggest that the government wants to wake up Swedes, who have lived more than 200 years of silence, with a direct and dramatic sound.

Finland saw a more pronounced change in the national atmosphere than Sweden after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 – and the long anti-Russian border and the possibility of war due to winter and continued war never faded from Finns' minds. .

For this reason, Finland's own defenses were never as reduced as they were in Sweden. The construction of public shelters has not been abandoned, and public crisis preparedness is considered at an entirely different level.

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If Finland were not yet a member of the military alliance, the public discussion of the threat of war might be different for us. The broad consensus among experts is that Russia should not challenge NATO's military superiority through any member state — especially not in this situation, where Russia's entire force is advancing in Ukraine and no other resources.

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However, the situation in Ukraine has developed like a pendulum movement, and a new phase may soon come, where the Finns will also have to think about the situation again, and the rhetoric about the threat of war may become more direct in our country. As well as.

Russia's unpredictability may increase as the war situation unfolds from Ukraine now. This may represent a realistic scenario where the intensity of the war will decrease from the current level, but Russia will continue to build up its military and economic equipment at full strength. Another possibility is that Ukraine will begin to recapture lost territories or Russia will begin to win more territories for itself.

Late last year, what would happen if Ukraine collapsed and Russia prevailed became a perfectly valid and increasingly vocal question.

No good news is expected for Ukraine in 2024. Russia is more prepared for a longer war than the West. At the same time, Ukraine will need far greater material support than is in sight. According to calculations by the Kiel Institute in December, aid given by Western countries fell by almost 90 percent last year from the year before.

For example, if Ukraine were to lower themselves at the negotiating table and be forced to hand over already lost territories to Russia, we don't know what the outcome of Russia's victory would be.

Iltalehti asked the commander of the Swedish Defense Forces directly in Salon By Michael Biden, is it possible for Russia to attack the Baltics, Finland or Sweden? The answer was unequivocally: yes.

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Biden's stark warning is based on an analysis by Swedish intelligence services of how events have developed over the past year. Russia's resources are currently in Ukraine, but the industry is producing weapons of war at a tremendous pace.

In an interview with IL, the Swedish general revealed what the country's war panic-like awakening was ultimately about. According to Biden, Russia wants to build up strength in the Baltics and on its borders against Finland, which will take two to five years to prepare.

After the Russian attack, Finland responded with highly effective countermeasures: joining NATO and concluding a bilateral defense treaty with the United States. This means that Finland – and Sweden – have better defense resources compared to Russia.

There is also a long-term preparation in the background: Finland has increased its defense budget by 2.5 times in the last ten years.

There is no reason for war panic when you manage your own security so that you are not in a very tight spot at the mercy of others' help, but on the other hand, thanks to strong friends, counter-blocking is now successful. Built on such a level that challenging Russia would be absurd.

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