MOSCOW: Estonia’s defense minister announced on Friday Tallinn and Helsinki have discussed integration of coastal missile batteries that would enable the two NATO members to blockade the Russian Navy in the Gulf of Finland, reports RT.com
This would turn the Baltic Sea into a “NATO internal sea,” the official said, echoing comments made earlier by Polish and Lithuanian leaders.
Finland’s MTO85M coastal missiles have a range of over 100 kilometers. The Gulf is about 82 kilometers across from Helsinki to Tallinn. Estonia plans to buy Israeli Blue Spear missiles later this year, which have a range of almost 300 kilometers.
“The Baltic Sea will be NATO’s internal sea when Finland and Sweden have joined NATO. Compared with what it is today, the situation is changing,” Pevkur said, adding that the two countries will then be able to close the sea to the Russian Navy if needed.
Finland and Sweden’s application to NATO was met with greatest enthusiasm by Poland and the former Soviet republics on the Baltic Sea.
Following the alliance’s summit in Spain at the end of June, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics both said they hoped for the Baltic to become a “NATO lake.”
Pevkur said he discussed airspace with his Finnish colleague as well, though he dodged Iltaleht’s question whether the US will deploy its F-35 fighter jets to Estonia.
Estonia has been one of the most outspoken NATO members in urging a confrontation with Russia.
On Thursday, Tallinn announced that it would ban entry to Russians with EU Schengen visas starting next week, and demolish all Soviet-era monuments “as soon as possible.”