Turns to the West  

Amanial M Ftwi,, staff reporter

With the Russo-Ukrainian War persisting into 2023, many nations begin to look towards  the West for support against possible Russian expansionism. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland,  and Georgia all seek to join NATO yet Sweden joining is quite possibly the greatest threat to  Russian plans. On May 15, 2022, Sweden officially applied to join NATO. Following the  application, every NATO member state signed Sweden’s accession protocol on July 5, 2022, as  well as, openly announcing their full support for Sweden. With the Black Sea and Gulf of  Finland in NATO’s control, all that remains in the west is the Baltic Sea. Sweden becoming a  part of NATO renders Russia’s final semi-reliable port in the Kalinigrad Oblast exclave futile.  The island of Gotland accounts for less than one percent of Sweden’s land, yet it is one of if not  the most strategically important pieces of land Sweden owns. Colonel Magnus Frykvall remarks,  “The country that controls Gotland can control a lot of the air and sea movements in the Baltic  Sea.” Sitting in the middle of the Baltic sea, Gotland acts as a military base, only 214 miles away  from Kaliningrad. In addition, Gotland poses as a potential cable relay station powerhouse. A  cable relay station allows a nation to grant submarines access to necessities such as internet and  private data traffic. Communications also go to the cable facilities, presenting a new possible  layer of information to NATO. With a lack of allies in the Baltic Sea, and nations such as  Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, all strengthening their naval and aerial capabilities,  Sweden’s ties with NATO severely hamper Russia’s range in the region. NPR News asserts,  “When Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, he said it was partly to stop Ukraine  from joining NATO. Instead, the war is driving more countries toward the military alliance.” Ironically, Russia is causing precisely what they claim to be fighting against.