Finland Announces Plan To Join NATO, Sweden Expected To Follow

Finland has announced plans to join NATO
(image via Depositphotos)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made clear in failed negotiations with leaders in Ukraine he did not want Ukraine to join NATO. According to reports, he didn’t want the military alliance that includes the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and more, to get closer to Russian borders.

But now, it seems Putin is going to get exactly what he didn’t want.

As Reuters reports, “Finland’s plan to apply for NATO membership, announced on Thursday, and the expectation that Sweden will follow, would bring about the expansion of the Western military alliance that  aimed to prevent.”

More from the New York Times:

Finland’s leaders announced on Thursday that their country should “apply for NATO membership without delay,” while Swedish leaders were expected to do the same within days.

It is a remarkable shift by two nations on Russia’s doorstep that had long remained nonaligned militarily — but where public opinion has lurched strongly toward joining the alliance in the 11 weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Kremlin said that Finnish membership in NATO was “definitely” a threat, and that it was prepared to “balance the situation” to ensure Russia’s security.

Finland has good reason to join NATO considering the Nordic country shares a 830-mile long border with Russia.

While Finland’s parliament is reportedly days away from making its decision, Sweden is lagging slightly behind Finland as Sweden’s ruling party, the Social Democrats, have to overcome some inter-party splits.

Still, polling shows citizens of both countries have expressed wide margins of support for joining NATO.

The addition of the two Nordic countries would bring the total number of NATO member countries to 35.