Russian TV host Dmitry Kiselyov, the head of two Kremlin-owned media groups, told state television over the weekend that Russia would have ''no choice'' but to deploy nuclear weapons against NATO if Finland and Sweden join the alliance, Newsweek reported.
Finland and Sweden's ''official reason [to join NATO] is fear," Kiselyov said on Russia 1. ''But they'll have more fear in NATO. When NATO bases appear in Sweden and Finland, Russia will have no choice but to neutralize the imbalance and new threat by deploying tactical nuclear weapons.''
The outrage from Russian state media comes the same day Finnish and Swedish leaders confirmed their intention to join NATO, as Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine continues to consolidate the West, according to The Guardian.
''The president and the government's foreign policy committee have agreed that after consulting parliament, Finland will apply for NATO membership,'' said Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.
''A new era is opening,'' he continued. ''A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong, and responsible Nordic region. We gain security, and we also share it. It's good to keep in mind that security isn't a zero-sum game.''
The Swedish Social Democratic Party, which previously served as the main roadblock to the country's joining NATO, announced several hours later that it would withdraw its opposition and support entering the alliance, according to the British outlet.
''The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people is to join NATO,'' Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a news conference. ''We believe Sweden needs the formal security guarantees that come with membership in NATO.''
''Tomorrow, I will assure broad parliamentary support in the Riksdag for a Swedish membership application,'' she added.
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