Sweden confirms it will join Finland in its bid for NATO
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has confirmed that the country will go ahead with its bid to join NATO, despite warnings of Russian retaliation
Sweden will proceed with its application for NATO membership after confirming that Finland will do the same.
Finland, which shares an 800-mile border with Russia, confirmed its request on May 15, with Sweden making the same confirmation 24 hours later.
Finland and Sweden have received defense guarantees from NATO members and neighbors during the application process after Russia openly criticized the move.
What did Sweden say about joining NATO?
In a May 16 press conference, Swedish Prime Minister Magdelena Andersson confirmed that the country would apply for NATO membership.
She said: “There is a large majority in the Swedish Parliament for Sweden to join NATO.
“It is best for the safety of Sweden and its people. We will tell NATO that we want to become a member of the alliance.”
Ms Andersson told reporters the move has public support, adding that the country is in a “vulnerable position” during the application period.
However, she also said that ministers did not believe Russia would deploy a direct military threat at this point.
Ulf Kristersson, leader of Sweden’s opposition party Moderate, called the move “historic” and added: “It’s not about party politics, it’s about shared responsibility for the country’s security interests.” We will take responsibility for this process together.”
Sweden’s application is to be submitted together with Finland’s.
What did Finland say about joining NATO?
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö confirmed in a press conference on May 15 that the country would abandon decades of military non-alignment.
He said: “The President and the Government’s Foreign Affairs Committee have agreed that Finland will apply for NATO membership after consultation with Parliament.
“A protected Finland is born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region. We gain security and we also share it. It’s good to remember that security is not a zero-sum game.”
What did Russia say about Sweden and Finland joining NATO?
After it became known that the two countries were considering joining NATO, Russia immediately criticized this step.
Russia has for many years been vocal against NATO’s eastward expansion, using this as part of the justification for building up forces on Ukraine’s border ahead of the invasion.
Vladimir Putin said that the accession of Finland and Sweden would not pose “an immediate threat to Russia”.
He said: “As far as enlargement is concerned, Russia has no problem with these states – none. So in that sense, there is no immediate threat to Russia from enlargement to include these countries.”
However, he veiled threats if NATO weapons were stationed in Finland and Sweden after membership was granted, saying it would “certainly provoke our reaction”.
He added: “What that will be – we will see what threats are created for us.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had previously warned the two Nordic countries to “have no illusions that we will just give in” when NATO expansion is on the doorstep.
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/world/ukraine-war-sweden-finland-applying-nato-membership-russia-3696318 Sweden confirms it will join Finland in its bid for NATO