Finland and Sweden could apply to join NATO as soon as this summer, despite Russia’s threats to punish them if they do, report says

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, politicians in Finland and Sweden revived calls to join NATO, which is currently made up of 30 member states. Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and Sweden neighbors Finland.

Finland is expected to send its application in June, with Sweden to follow shortly after, The Times reported.

US officials told The Times that NATO membership for both states was “a topic of conversation and multiple sessions” during talks between the foreign ministers of NATO nations last Wednesday.

Sanna Marin, the prime minister of Finland, said earlier in April that “Russia is not the neighbor we thought it was.”

According to The Times, a senior US official remarked of the potential membership of Finland and Sweden: “How can this be anything but a massive strategic blunder for Putin?”

News of Finland and Sweden’s potential membership will likely sit poorly with Russia.

In March, a Russian foreign ministry official warned of “serious military and political consequences” if Finland or Sweden tried to join NATO.

Putin has long said that any NATO expansion to the east constituted a direct threat to Russian sovereignty and security. One of Russia’s main conditions for a cease-fire in its Ukraine invasion is that Ukraine promises never to join NATO.

NATO countries have recently bolstered troops numbers in nations close to Russia, such as Poland. There are now 40,000 NATO troops stations in eastern Europe, The Times said.

If Finland joins NATO, that would allow Western troops to extend their presence on Russia’s border.

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