Finland, Sweden to join NATO by summer: The Times
Finland and Sweden are poised to join NATO by the summer, taking a historic turn for both countries.
Finland and Sweden are ready to join NATO as early as the summer, The Times reported on Monday, citing officials.
The United States officials said that NATO membership for both Nordic countries was "a topic of conversation and multiple sessions" during talks between the alliance's foreign ministers last week attended by Sweden and Finland, the report added.
Finland gears up for NATO
Finland is prepared to make a possibly historic choice on whether to apply to join NATO as a "deterrence to Russian acts" before midsummer.
The 5.5 million-strong Nordic nation has long been non-aligned militarily, in part to avoid offending its eastern neighbor, with whom it shares a 1,300-kilometer (830-mile) border.
However, Russia's military operation in Ukraine on February 24 saw public support for joining NATO double from 30% to 60%, according to a series of polls.
"Never underestimate the capacity of Finns to take rapid decisions when the world changes," former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told AFP.
Furthermore, in a poll conducted by national broadcaster Yle, just six of Finland's 200 MPs publicly expressed anti-NATO sentiments, including Markus Mustajarvi of the Left Alliance party.
Sweden to NATO
Earlier, Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson revealed that she hasn't ruled out NATO membership in the wake of the war in Ukraine, after having insisted until now on her country's policy of military non-alliance.
"I don't rule out NATO membership in any way," Andersson told Swedish public television SVT, adding that a review of the country's security policy was underway.
The Social Democrat leader indicated that she wanted "to do a thorough analysis of our possibilities in this situation, of the threats and risks associated with them, to make the best decision for Sweden."
Sweden is not a member of NATO and is officially militarily non-aligned, though it is a partner of the alliance.