Finland and Sweden could soon join NATO as early as summer, a move that officials call a “massive strategic blunder” for Russia.
U.S. officials told The Times that NATO membership for the two Nordic countries was “a topic of conversation and multiple sessions” when the military alliance met with foreign ministers from Stockholm and Helsinki last week.
Finland’s application is expected in June, with Sweden expected to follow, according to the report.
Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto had told reporters after last week’s talks that Finland will clarify next steps in the coming weeks regarding a possible decision to join NATO.
In an interview with SVT late March, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said she did not rule out the possibility of a NATO membership.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the initially neutral countries to consider joining the U.S.-led alliance. The Kremlin had threatened Sweden and Finland, both of which share borders and seas with Russia, that joining NATO would result in “serious military and political consequences.”
Public opinion also took a turn after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, with more Swedes and Finns now favoring NATO membership.
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