What Happens if Finland and Sweden Join NATO?
The two Nordic nations applied for membership in the Western alliance on May 18 in a historic move seen as a direct consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Sweden has remained neutral for over two centuries and Finland since the end of WWII. With the latter sharing an 830 mile border with Russia, public opinion has steered towards joining NATO. Find out why the application process leaves both countries vulnerable, how Moscow has responded and how Turkey could jeopardize their membership.
From Neutral to NATO
They've remained non-aligned during two World Wars and the Cold War, but as the devastating conflict continues in Ukraine, a large democracy unprotected by NATO, both smaller countries are hoping to assure their own security against future Russian aggression.
Moscow's initial response was one that perhaps many expected but Russian President Vladimir Putin has since U-turned on the official opinion, which has some guessing if this news will help or hinder his messaging back home.
Will Members Support It?
It appears most NATO members are prepared to accept Finland and Sweden into the alliance, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has aired his objections which could block these newest applicants.
How Will They Join?
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which comprises 30 members, insists that all new applicants must pass certain political criteria to join. The ratification process is expected to take a year.