Reasons Why Finland and Sweden Will Join NATO

Reasons Why Finland and Sweden Will Join NATO

International Military - Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have sought NATO protection. The two countries are also considering changing their respective security policy paradigms, relinquishing military neutrality and independence.

In January, Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin stated in Helsinki that Finland could not be expected to seek NATO membership during the current legislative period. However, the Russian invasion has opened eyes to the disadvantages of being a non-NATO member. Despite providing Kyiv with some assistance, NATO remains reluctant to intervene directly.

Finland itself is similar to Ukraine. Finland is a direct neighbor of Russia, sharing a 1,300 km border. "Not surprisingly, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been a key factor in pushing Sweden and Finland closer to applying for full NATO membership," said Alistair Shepherd, senior lecturer for European security at Aberystwyth University.

"The Russian invasion has dramatically changed the political discourse in Sweden and Finland as well as very important public opinion." There are indications that Finland and Sweden are heading for truly historic changes in their respective security policies.

During the cold war, Sweden and Finland were considered essentially neutral countries, although for different reasons. "Swedes' neutrality is more a part of their national identity," Shephard said. "While Finland's neutrality is more pragmatic and almost imposed on them by the 'Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance' signed between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1948," he added.

Since the end of the Cold War, Finland and Sweden have developed close ties to NATO. Especially after the two countries joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programs in 1994 and the European Union in 1995. "The PfP is designed to offer non-NATO countries a way to develop their individual relations with NATO at a pace and rate of their choosing. myself," said Shepherd.

Despite joining the EU, and more significantly in terms of defense and military policies, the two countries continue to position themselves as militarily non-aligned. This effectively means that while they are no longer politically neutral, they officially remain outside of any military alliance. However, the latter seems to be changing.

Finland is reportedly likely to decide to join NATO within a few weeks. Sweden, meanwhile, is facing a mid-year election, and is somewhat more cautious than Finland when it comes to its future. Finland's and Sweden's desire to join NATO is likely to displease Russia.

According to The Guardian, Moscow said it would strengthen its defenses in the Baltics if Finland and Sweden joined NATO. This includes deploying nuclear weapons.

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, a senior member of Russia's security council, said on Thursday that all his troops in the region would be supported if the two Nordic countries joined the US-led alliance. Medvedev's threat is the latest in many examples of a nuclear weapons attack from the Kremlin aimed at deterring western military intervention on behalf of Ukraine.

"Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks they have faced so far militarily," Medvedev said. None of us can underestimate the threat posed by the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons," he added.

"Their access to the alliance will more than double Russia's land borders with NATO members. Of course, we must strengthen these borders by strengthening land, air and sea defenses in the region," he said.

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