(MENAFN) Tallinn and Helsinki have discussed integrating coastal missile batteries that would allow the two western states to block the Russian navy in the Gulf of Finland, Estonia’s defense minister said on Friday.

This would turn the Baltic Sea into a “NATO inner sea”, the official said, reiterating remarks made earlier by the Polish and Lithuanian presidents.

Finland has applied to become a member of the US-led military bloc.

“We need to integrate our coastal defenses. The flight range of Estonian and Finnish missiles is greater than the width of the Gulf of Finland,” Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.

Finnish MTO85M coastal missiles have a range of over 100 kilometers. The gulf stretches for about 82 kilometers between Helsinki and Tallinn. Estonia will buy Israeli Blue Spear missiles later in 2022, which have a range of almost 300 kilometers.

“The Baltic Sea will be NATO’s inland sea when Finland and Sweden join NATO.
Compared to what it is today, the situation is changing,” Pevkur added, noting that the two nations will then be able to close the sea to the Russian navy if necessary.

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