Armas readers know that we’ve been predicting here that the expand-the-problem gambit for Russia will probably come with a crisis over Finnish (and secondarily Swedish) membership in NATO. A démarche will be issued, the countries in question will refuse to comply, the alliance in question will refuse to comply, and the scenario will unfold. To that end, I give you this couplet of tweets from the past twelve hours.
Новости Эхо Москвы @EchoMskNewsФинляндия и Швеция, не входящие в НАТО, получили письма Кремля с требованием предоставить РФ гарантии безопасности
The author of the first tweet, a Finnish security researcher, also claims that he was told that a Finnish NATO application will trigger automatic bilateral security guarantees from major NATO-member states. The point of this, presumably, would be to make NATO membership de facto automatic, as the actual accession process is reasonably slow, requiring as it does unanimous ratification from every member-nation legislature. The substantive time gap between a request for accession to actual accession is also the period in which a crisis is likely to erupt, and so the (putative) bilateral guarantees aim to reduce it to nothing.