Finland and Sweden on Wednesday submitted applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) after decades of military neutrality over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After receiving requests from Finnish and Swedish ambassadors at NATO headquarters, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “The two requests you submitted today are a historic step. Coalition members are now considering the next steps in joining NATO.”
Both efforts could represent the most significant NATO expansion in decades, doubling the length of the alliance’s border with Russia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that access to the two countries could provoke a response from Moscow.
However, both demands are met with opposition from NATO member Turkey, which has threatened to block them as Scandinavian countries accuse them of providing a safe haven for anti-Ankara groups.
“The security interests of all NATO members must be taken into account and we are committed to resolving all these issues and making decisions quickly,” Stoltenberg said.
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