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Finland and Sweden Apply for NATO Membership

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Finland and Sweden officially applied for NATO membership on May 18. Alliance General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg called this fact historic.

Finland shares a 130 km-long border with Russia. The country has declared neutrality since World War II, while Sweden has not joined military alliances for the past 2 centuries. Both countries saw the prospect of NATO membership as an unnecessary provocation for Russia.

The decision was called good news for the EU by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. He said in Brussels on May 17 that it would be against what President Putin wanted to achieve, trying to stop NATO's rapprochement with Russia's bordering countries, but today, the exact opposite is happening.

Russian President Putin said on May 16 that NATO enlargement at the expense of Finland and Sweden does not pose an immediate threat to Russia, as Moscow has no problem with those countries, however, a Russian response will follow the expansion of NATO infrastructure.

After Russia's war in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland decided to join the alliance. Stoltenberg has repeatedly said that the Alliance welcomes the membership of these countries. However, the application for membership of Sweden and Finland must be supported by all 30 members of NATO, and at this stage, Turkey opposes their membership. President Erdogan is dissatisfied with the policy of those countries towards Kurdish paramilitary groups, which Ankara considers terrorists.