Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO; alliance chief hails ‘historic moment’

Foto: NATO

Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join NATO, which was hailed as “a historic moment” by the military alliance’s chief.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday called the two countries “our closest partners” and said the alliance was ready to move quickly on their membership requests.

Finland and Sweden’s ambassadors to NATO handed over the bids, as Russia whose war on Ukraine prompted them to join the military organization, has warned that it wouldn’t welcome such a move, and could respond.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners,“ Stoltenberg said. “All allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement. We all agree that we must stand together, and we all agree that this is an historic moment which we must seize.”

“This is a good day at a critical moment for our security,” he added, standing alongside the two envoys, with NATO, Finnish and Swedish flags at their backs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that the alliance stop expanding toward Russia’s borders.

The United States and Britain, have indicated they stand ready to provide security support to Finland and Sweden should Moscow try to destabilize them during the time it takes to become full members.

The countries will only benefit from NATO’s Article 5 security guarantee — that pledges that any attack on one member would be considered an attack of them all — once the membership ratification process is concluded, likely in several months,

Their applications must be reviewed the 30 member countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip has expressed reservations about the two Nordic countries joining.

The process usually takes eight to 12 months, but NATO wants to move quickly given the threat from Russia looming over the  countries.

Romania joined the alliance in 2004 at the same time as Bulgaria.

Russia’s ambassador summoned to Romanian foreign ministry in protest at anti-NATO article on embassy website


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here