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.
Finland said it would apply to join NATO ‘without delay,’ with Sweden expected to follow suit, suggesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will bring about the very expansion of the Western military alliance that Vladimir Putin aimed to prevent https://t.co/Orl7oglNae 1/5 pic.twitter.com/9peSJmFWZb
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 12, 2022
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.
Breaking News: Finland’s leaders announced their support for applying to join NATO. The move was expected, and was prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. https://t.co/EheOFOxvd1
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 12, 2022
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.
Finland is all but certain to join the Western military alliance NATO, with Sweden to follow.
The decision of by Finnish leaders paves the way for historic expansion of NATO that would represent a blow to Russia as its military struggles in Ukraine. https://t.co/4mSIDEYgNr pic.twitter.com/44oCFKAwmD
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 12, 2022
Just an astounding blunder on the part of Putin: “Public backing of Nato membership hovered between 20-30% in Finland even after Russia’s incursions into Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. But the most recent poll showed 76% of Finns back joining Nato.” https://t.co/Kk111ZntHc
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) May 12, 2022