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Finland, Sweden intensify efforts to join NATO

Speaking on Finland joining the NATO, former PM said that the move to join "was pretty much a done deal on February 24, when Russia invaded."

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Brussels: Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have increased their efforts to join the NATO. CNN quoted the NATO officials as saying that discussions about Sweden and Finland joining the bloc have gotten extremely serious since Russia’s invasion.

The topic was discussed during this week’s NATO foreign ministerial meeting, US senior State Department officials. These meetings were held amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that NATO must cease expanding in the east and admitting new members. He also accused the bloc of threatening Russia’s security.

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Speaking on Finland joining the NATO, former PM said that the move to join “was pretty much a done deal on February 24, when Russia invaded.”

“If you look at public opinion in Finland and Sweden, and how their views have changed dramatically over the past six weeks, I think it’s another example of how this has been a strategic failure,” one senior US State Department official said.

On Friday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin confirmed that her country’s Parliament would be discussing a possible NATO membership “within the coming weeks” and hopefully the discussions would wrap up “before midsummer.”

“I think we will have very careful discussions, but we are also not taking any more time than we have to in this process, because the situation is, of course, very severe,” she said.

CNN quoted a Swedish official as saying that Sweden is undertaking an analysis of security policy that’s due to be completed by the end of May, and the government is expected to announce its position following that report. On Thursday, the Kremlin warned that it would “rebalance the situation” if Sweden and Finland were to join NATO.

“We’ll have to make our western flank more sophisticated in terms of ensuring our security,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Sky News.

Meanwhile, NATO chief Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Sweden and Finland “can easily join this alliance if they decide to apply” as they “have worked together for many years, we know that they meet the NATO standards when it comes to interoperability, democratic control over the armed forces.” 

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