Finland and Sweden consider joining NATO

Both the leaders of Finland and Sweden said that a decision on applying for NATO membership could be expected sooner rather than later.

Paul Wienerholm | Afp | Getty Images

LONDON – Finland and Sweden could seek to join NATO in the coming weeks, warning that the security landscape in Europe has “completely changed” in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday that the Scandinavian country, which shares a 1,300 km border with Russia, will decide whether to join the US-led military coalition “within weeks”.

Finnish lawmakers are expected to discuss the pros and cons of joining the 30-member coalition when they return from the Easter break.

Speaking alongside Sweden’s Magdalena Andersson at a joint press conference in Stockholm, Marin said, “Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine.”

“I think the mentalities of people in Finland, as well as in Sweden, have changed and [were] “It was shaped very dramatically by Russia’s actions,” Marin said. “This is very clear and has caused the need for an operation in Finland to have a discussion about our security options.”

Swedish Prime Minister Andersen echoed this view, saying that “there is no point in delaying an analysis of whether it is appropriate for Sweden to apply for NATO membership.

“I think, as I’ve said many times, this is a very important time in history. There is a period before and after the 24th of February. The whole security landscape has changed,” Anderson said.

“We have to analyze the situation to see what is best for Sweden’s security for the Swedish people in this new situation. You should not rush into it, you should take it seriously,” she added.

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Marin and Anderson’s comments are the strongest indication yet that the two Scandinavian countries could quickly seek to join the military alliance, thus ending their traditional position of neutrality.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Repeatedly He said it was up to Finland and Sweden to decide their course. He also said that “the door is still open” for the coalition to receive the new members.

Russia has long warned against any future NATO expansion, accusing the alliance of being a “confrontation-oriented tool”.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nearly seven-week war in Ukraine has led to more troops being deployed to NATO’s eastern flank and led to a sharp increase in popular support for Finnish and Swedish membership.

Consequences and risks

Anderson said the security landscape in Europe had “completely changed” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Paul Wienerholm | Afp | Getty Images

Marin from Finland said that since Russia is the country’s next-door neighbor, it is very important for lawmakers to discuss the best way to ensure that the devastating crisis in Ukraine is something that never happens in Finland.

“NATO is an organization where important decisions related to our security are made. It is an important part of Europe’s political and security structure. As part of the discussion, we need to assess how our potential membership in NATO will respond to our security needs,” Marin said.

“We also need to be very frank about the consequences and the risks. There are risks in the short term and in the long term. Those risks are there if we apply and if we don’t.”

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