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Russia in chilling nuclear warning as Finland and Sweden move to join NATO

By Ryan Merrifield

Russia will take precautionary measures if NATO deploys nuclear forces closer to its borders, according to the country's deputy foreign minister.

Alexander Grushko added that Moscow has no hostile intentions towards Finland and Sweden who have moved to join the western alliance.

But he said he doesn't see "real" reasons for the two countries to make such a decision.

"It will be necessary to respond ... by taking adequate precautionary measures that would ensure the viability of deterrence," Interfax agency quoted Grushko as saying.

Kremlin forces invaded Ukraine in February because the Russian President wanted to push the Western military alliance back from his country’s borders.

He has demanded the former-Soviet allies never be allowed to become a member of the alliance.

But the war has instead led to its neighbour Finland, with which it shares an 810-mile border, saying it wants the protection of the 30-member, nuclear-armed coalition.

Alexander Grushko, the Russian deputy foreign minister (Getty Images)

In a joint statement, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said: "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.

“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days."

A formal application is expected within days and NATO leaders are expected to discuss the bid at their summit in Madrid next month.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously said it would be possible to allow Finland and Sweden to join "quite quickly" (OLIVIER HOSLET/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Sweden, which shares a maritime frontier with Russia, is also set to apply to join the organisation.

Its parliament will reportedly debate the security situation on Monday and Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will call a special cabinet to sign it off.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg previously said it would be possible to allow Finland and Sweden to join "quite quickly".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the steps taken by Finland to join NATO were a cause for regret and a reason to impose a symmetrical response.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (via REUTERS)

Downing Street said the UK would support the two nations’ “democratic wish” to try to join Nato.

It comes as an expert said Russia's war with Ukraine is approaching a "peak point".

Samuel Cranny-Evans, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, said both sides are making advances but are also suffering heavy losses.

He said there's "nothing to immediately say that is about to shift or change", adding: "It's approaching a stalemate."

The war in Ukraine was sparked by Putin's fears Ukraine would join NATO (AFP via Getty Images)

"It's approaching a point where neither side can push much more, I would say."

He went on to say the conflict is "approaching a peak point where perhaps they no longer really have fresh things to give that might change the way the fighting is going".

Speaking to Sky News on Saturday morning, he was asked about claims made by Kyiv's Defence Intelligence Chief, Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, that an end is near and he is "optimistic".

British PM Boris Johnson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto shake hands (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The top spy also claimed there was evidence Russian President Vladimir Putin is very sick and there could soon be a coup against him.

Mr Cranny-Evans said "it's difficult to say" how accurate such claims are.

In relation to speculation about Putin's health, he added "That could depend on a number of things...there is, obviously, a lot to be gained from undermining Putin as a leader right now."

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Dive Deeper:
Vladimir Putin warns Finland joining NATO is a 'mistake' and will be 'security threat'
The two countries said their presidents spoke by phone two days after Finland declared its intention to join NATO with…
Finland and Sweden confirm intention to join Nato
Announcements signify historic shift in policy in Nordic countries that will redraw Europe’s security map
Finland and Sweden move closer to Nato membership
Finland’s president and government have announced the Nordic country intends to apply for membership of Nato, paving the way for…
Latest Russia-Ukraine updates: Finland, Sweden to apply to NATO
News from May 15: Finland, Sweden announce decision to apply for NATO membership, setting aside decades of neutrality.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Blinken 'confident' Finland and Sweden will join NATO despite Turkey's concerns
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced confidence on Sunday that Sweden and Finland would join NATO once they formally…
Turkey's president opposes letting Finland, Sweden join NATO
"We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion," Erdogan told reporters.
Get all your news in one place