The Sun, by Olivia Burke: RUSSIA has started deploying nuclear missiles toward its border with Finland in wake of the nation’s bold NATO bid.
Menacing mobile Iskander missiles were spotted being transported towards the dividing line as desperate Putin throws a troubling tantrum.
The Russian despot had warned Finland and Sweden that joining the Western alliance would be a “mistake” – but they have so far snubbed his grumbles.
After being given the cold shoulder by the two notoriously neutral nations, he seems to be resorting to desperate measures to save face.
Moscow has made it clear they will suffer the consequences of joining NATO, boasting they could wipe out Finland in “ten seconds”.
Putin parroted the veiled hypersonic missile threats in a tense phone call with Finland – and now appears to be putting his money where his mouth is.
Chilling dashcam footage appears to show a fleet of the deadly Iskander missiles en-route to Vyborg – just 24 miles from the Finnish border – on Monday.
The commentary in the clip suggested a “new military unit is about to be formed” – in the immediate aftermath of the Nordic nation’s NATO application.
The person behind the lens explained: “As soon as the president of Finland said they were joining NATO, a whole division of Iskanders, seven of them… is moving towards Vyborg.
“Looks like a new military unit is about to be formed in Vyborg or the region.
“All the equipment is new, Ural trucks are driving it. So get ready Finns, to join NATO.
“New Urals, seven Iskanders, looks like a new military unit is being formed – well done.”
The fearsome family of missiles are designed to hit targets at relatively short distances and are deployed against NATO forces.
They have been a staple weapon used by Putin throughout his invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24.
The mobile short range ballistic missile is capable of carrying cluster munitions or fuel-air explosive enhanced-blast warheads.
With a range of up to 310 miles, the Iskander can also be deployed for bunker-busting and anti-radar missions.
The movement of the lethal missiles comes after Russia warned Finland and Sweden that their decision to join NATO was a “grave mistake with far-reaching consequences.”
Putin has warned of ”lightning fast” retaliation if the West directly intervenes in the Ukraine conflict.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the two Scandinavian countries “should have no illusions that we will simply resign ourselves to this”.
Brainwashed state television pundits supporting Putin also mocked the NATO hopefuls, suggesting they have only opted to join due to fear.
But it seems Russia have also been rattled by the unwavering support shown for Ukraine since the conflict kicked off.
A commentator on Rossiya One said: “Their official reason is fear. But they’ll have more fear in NATO.
“When NATO bases appear in Sweden and Finland, Russia will have no choice but to neutralise the imbalance and new threat by deploying tactical nuclear weapons.”
The stern warning was somewhat expected in wake of their bloc bids, as Russia will soon be encircled by NATO territory on its western flank from the Arctic to Turkey.
It’s understood that both countries have been spooked by Mad Vlad’s invasion of Ukraine and are seeking security ties with the West to fend off any aspirations by Russia to invade.
Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, announced its hopes of securing NATO membership after remaining militarily non-aligned for 75 years.
President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin excitedly described the major policy shift as the beginning of a “new era”.
But Russia claimed the country joining the transatlantic alliance would harm bilateral ties.
US President Joe Biden held a joint call with Finland’s leaders on Friday to support their NATO application — although Turkey has warned it may veto the move.
Sweden soon followed suit in just a matter of hours, with the ruling Social Democrats also backing a bid to join NATO.
Now in a stunning show of unity, 15,000 troops from 14 NATO countries will today conduct a huge military drill in the Baltics.
Finnish and Swedish soldiers will join in the exercise dubbed ‘Siil’ or ‘Hedgehog’ today, which will take place just 40 miles from the nearest Russian base.
Although the drill was pre-planned, its timing could not be more fitting.
Just months ago, the historically impartial nations, Finland and Sweden, considered joining the alliance a distant prospect.
But Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine has prompted them both to rethink their security needs and seek safety in a group they stood apart from during the long Cold War.
It seems they have begun to realise that the savagery of Russia knows no bounds – in warnings, war and even Eurovision.
Ukraine’s triumph riled Russia, seeing Putin’s henchmen scrawl ‘Eurovision 2022’ on a deadly bomb.
Others sickeningly called for the competition to be “nuked”.
Russia have now also been accused of pummelling Ukrainian defenders at the Mariupol steel plant with deadly phosphorus bombs.
The toxic incendiary burns deep into human tissue after being inhaled as smoke or ingested.
It comes as Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko said he fears his city will be nuked by Russian forces.
He doubled down on his predictions that Putin’s main plot is to occupy the city, saying he had “no doubt” it was still in his sights.
And he fears he will stop at nothing – even nuclear warfare – to achieve his goal, saying an attack could come at “any minute”.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.” Matthew 24:7.