Both Sweden and Finland have strong militaries that would bolster the eastern flank of NATO and help the alliance to dominate the Baltic Sea, according to Polish military expert and former deputy defense minister, Romuald Szeremietiew.
However, he feels that Kaliningrad enclave —the piece of Russian land sandwiched between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea — could become a problem to the new set-up.
First of all, Szeremietiew claims its name will be unacceptable as the region is named after Mikhail Kalinin, a Soviet war criminal co-responsible for the Katyn massacre. Second, he argues that Kaliningrad will have to be demilitarized or else it will be a powder keg in the middle of NATO. Poland’s role on the eastern flank will be enhanced and with the entry of Sweden and Finland, NATO will bark near Saint Petersburg.
Asked about Russia’s response, Szeremietiew feels it will be very vocal and will involve making threats of using nuclear weapons, as Russia has little else left to scare the West with. Szeremietiew is also not surprised that Russia has not been able to launch a decisive offensive in the Donbas, as it is not capable of doing so.
The former Polish deputy minister of defense is however surprised at the speech Putin gave on Victory Day on May 8, during which he demonstrated that he does not really know what to do to win the war in Ukraine. Szeremietiew feels that Moscow has no way out and that it could well be facing a defeat at the hands of the Ukrainians.
But it is impossible to predict how this would affect Russia’s internal situation. Since Russia is not as strong as the USSR was, and Putin is not in the same league as Stalin, Szeremietiew feels that Russia could fall apart.