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Finland & Sweden Could Join NATO in Light of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Both Sweden and Finland have traditionally followed a policy of neutrality with respect to international politics.

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In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland may soon take a historic decision "before midsummer" regarding NATO membership, despite traditionally been militarily non-aligned.

Finland, however, is adjacent to Russia and shares a 1,300 kilometre (830 mile) border with it.

While it stayed away from NATO to avoid provoking tensions in Russia, public support for NATO membership has doubled from 30 to 60 percent after the invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February.

"We will have very careful discussions, but not taking any more time than we have to," the country’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, had said last week, reported by The Guardian.

"Never underestimate the capacity of Finns to take rapid decisions when the world changes," ex-prime minister of Finland Alexander Stubb told AFP.

"My guess is that the application will be filed sometime during the month of May," he added. That is when the June NATO summit will be held in Madrid, Spain.

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Additionally, Sweden's ruling party, the Social Democrats, led by prime minister Magdalena Andersson, has started debating the need for NATO membership.

"When Russia invaded Ukraine, Sweden's security position changed fundamentally," read a party statement released on Monday, 11 April.

Sweden, which has traditionally stayed away from military alliances, was neutral during both World Wars and the Cold War.

The NATO question will be an important campaign issue in the 2022 Swedish parliamentary elections that are scheduled to take place on 11 September.

The centre-right opposition parties have said that they will also support NATO membership. Even the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are usually against formal integration with Europe, are open to the suggestion.

(With inputs from AFP and The Guardian)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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