Sweden and Finland They agreed to submit simultaneous membership applications to the US-led NATO as early as the middle of next month, Nordic media reported.
Finnish daily Tlhti said on Monday that Stockholm “suggested that the two countries be ready to join” on the same day, and that Helsinki agreed “as long as the Swedish government made its decision”.
The Swedish newspaper Expressen Government sources confirmed the news. The two prime ministers He said this month They were deliberating the question, arguing The Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the ‘entire security landscape’ in Europe And mentalities were “largely shaped” in the North.
Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, said at the time that her country, which shares a 1,300 km (810 mi) border with RussiaHe will decide whether to apply to join the coalition “very quickly, in weeks, not months,” despite the risks of angering Moscow.
Its Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, said Sweden should be “prepared for all kinds of business from Russia” and that “everything has changed” when Moscow attacked Ukraine. Russia Both countries have repeatedly warned about the move.
The Kremlin has said it will have to “restore the military balance” by strengthening its defenses in the Baltic Sea, including through the deployment of nuclear weapons, if the two countries decide to abandon decades of military non-alignment by joining. NATO.
Last week, Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde said a wide-ranging review of security policy would conclude by 13 instead of May 31 as originally planned, adding that with Finland’s analysis already published “there is now a lot of pressure”.
Expressen said simultaneous applications could be submitted in the week of May 16, coinciding with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s state visit to Stockholm. The Guardian could not independently confirm these reports.
Recent polls have shown that as many as 68% of Finns support joining the alliance, more than double the number before the invasion, with only 12% against. Polls in Sweden indicate that a slim majority of Swedes support membership as well.
Both countries are officially militarily nonaligned, but have become NATO partners – taking part in exercises and sharing intelligence – after abandoning their previous stance of strict neutrality when they joined the European Union in 1995 after the end of the Cold War.
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