BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO allies expect Finland and Sweden to apply to join the alliance in the coming days and will grant membership quickly, five diplomats and officials said, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces a radical rethink of European security.
During the one-year ratification of their membership, the allies would provide an increased troop presence in the Nordic region, hold more military exercises and naval patrols in the Baltic Sea and possibly rotate U.S. and British forces through Finland and Sweden, they said.
Finland and Sweden would not benefit from NATO’s collective defence clause – that an attack on one ally is an attack on all – until the parliaments of all 30 member states have ratified the decision.
In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states are already NATO members.
President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, which shares a 1,300 km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a joint statement on Thursday that their country should submit an application to join the NATO military alliance “without delay.”
It represents a major policy shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Finland has previously remained outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to maintain friendly relations with Russia.
Sweden’s ruling …read more