Sweden and Finland mull NATO membership after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Finland and Sweden to consider joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but Russia has warned against the move.

Russia said on Monday local time that the possible accession of Sweden and Finland to the NATO military alliance would not bring stability to Europe.

“We have repeatedly said that the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation and its further expansion will not bring stability to the European continent,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrat party, which has so far rejected NATO membership, is reviewing its international security policy in the light of Ukraine’s invasion, it said on Monday.

The Social Democrats, the biggest party in parliament and ruling as a single-party minority government, have consistently rejected calls to join NATO, arguing that military non-alignment has served the country well.

But increasingly belligerent Russia has forced a rethink across the political spectrum in both Sweden and neighboring Finland, which is also outside the 30-member NATO alliance.

A missile stuck in the road in front of a large building in Kharkiv
Finland and Sweden are considering joining NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.(Reuters: Alkis Konstantinidis)

Daily Swedish newspaper DN quoted Social Democrat party secretary Tobias Baudin saying the review would be complete before the summer.

Finland is expected to outline its path regarding NATO in the coming weeks, with reports the two countries could join as early as June.

Ruling party invites members to reconsider NATO stance

The Social Democrats reaffirmed their policy of military non-alliance in November last year and their stance is widely seen as the biggest hurdle to an application for NATO membership.

“The Social Democrats are the key [to membership]”Peter Esaiasson, political science professor at Gothenberg University, said.

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