Finland Set to Join NATO, Sweden Expected to Follow Suit

Finland announced its intention to apply to join the NATO without delay. The move is expected to be followed by Sweden as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reshapes Europe’s security balance.

NATO members set to grant permission for Finland and Sweden quickly to gain membership to the military alliance. It will come with an increased troop presence in the Nordic region during the one-year ratification period.

In a joint statement, Finnish President Niinistö and Prime Minister Marin said the nation must apply for NATO membership without delay. The top two leaders of the country added that there are still steps needed to be taken to make this decision, but they hope it will be taken quickly in the next few days.

Finland has a 1,300 km border with Russia and the two nations have a history of armed conflict during the early years of the World War II. Finland has stepped up cooperation with the NATO since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are already NATO members. The addition of Finland and Sweden will likely rattle Moscow as it views NATO enlargement as a direct threat to its security.

Putin has cited the NATO expansion as a reason for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which has declared willingness to join the military alliance.

Russia has threatened Finland and Sweden against joining the NATO, saying it would have serious military and political consequences.

Niinistö on the other hand said their response was because of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Putin should “look at the mirror”.

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