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Putin's 'Next Ukraine'? Another European Country in Crosshairs as Russian Forces Mount Near Border

Finland May Be Russia's 'Next Ukraine' Target
Source: Unsplash

Finland has reason to believe it may be Russia's next target.

Oct. 25 2023, Published 12:01 p.m. ET

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Andrey Gurulyov, a former Russian military commander who now serves as a lawmaker, has suggested that NATO's most recent member, Finland, could become Russian President Vladimir Putin's "next Ukraine."

This statement was made to the public on state TV channel Russia-1, Knewz.com reported.

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"We understand very well that they're turning Finland into a second Ukraine. It's impossible not to notice these processes,” he said.

“Today, the moods are being heated up within Finland. I gave my aides specific instruction to look at what Finns are writing—and it's awful! They're saying joyously that 'Petrozavodsk is ours!' and all the rest of it," Gurulyov claimed via Newsweek.

Adding weight to Gurulyov’s claims, in September, Finland's public service broadcaster Yle reported that Russia had been developing its military base in Petrozavodsk.

Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Russian Republic of Karelia, located approximately 108 miles from Finland's border and was a part of Finland until the Soviet Union seized its republic from Finland in the 1940s.

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Independent Russian investigative publication Agentstvo recently reported that a new presidential decree suggests that Moscow could be gearing up for a standoff with Finland and the Baltic States.

This decree proposes the removal of Russia's Northern Fleet's "interspecific strategic territorial association," signifying that the North Fleet will no longer be a separate military-administrative unit equal to a military district.

This points to the possibility of the North Fleet and its four constituent regions being transferred to the reformed Leningrad Military District, per Critical Threat.

As the Leningrad Military District is stationed close to Finland and the Baltic States it is a key component of the Russian Armed Forces overseeing defense strategy in Russia's western region.

This escalation comes after Finland's decision to join the NATO military alliance in April 2023 in response to Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Moscow expressed ire at Finland's NATO membership causing tension between Finland and Russia.

Reuters reported at the time: “In Moscow, pro-Kremlin activists held a noisy anti-NATO demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy, holding up placards with slogans such as ‘Stop NATO’ and ‘NATO is a sponsor of Nazism.’

Russia and Finland share a 1,300 km (800-mile) border, and Moscow has already said it will beef up military divisions stationed in its west and northwest.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russia's military leadership that Finland's accession ‘creates the risks of a significant expansion of conflict'".

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Russia also threatened “counter-measures.”

Notably, recent events, such as threats to Finland's internet infrastructure and sabotage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline, which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called a "deliberate attack," have created suspicion, per BBC.

The gas pipeline which runs from Inkoo in Finland to Paldiski in Estonia was damaged along with a telecommunications cable that ran parallel to the fuel link but a significant distance apart reinforcing the notion of sabotage.

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