Sweden and Finland have confirmed they will apply to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) despite the ongoing between Russia and Ukraine.
Swedish government said it would not back down in its aspirations to join NATO
The announcement came soon after Finland formally announced it too would apply to join the security organization.
Russia sees NATO as a threat and has issued warnings to both Finland and Sweden, saying they risk being attacked.
Recall that both Sweden and Finland stayed neutral in World War II and for more than two centuries have avoided joining military alliances.
Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.
In a statement, Sweden’s Social Democrats said they would “work toward” membership, something supported by the public and most opposition parties. A formal application is likely within days.
However, the social Democrats have added that they were interested in Joining the organization but opposed to hosting NATO bases and refused stationing of nuclear weapons in their country.
Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, said her party believed joining the alliance was “best for Sweden’s and the Swedish people’s security.”
For us Social Democrats, it is clear that the military non-alignment has served Sweden well, but our conclusion is that it won’t serve us as well in the future.
She also said Sweden would be left in a “vulnerable position” if it was the only country in the Baltic region that was not a NATO member.
Finland’s President, Sauli Niinisto, earlier confirmed his country would apply, calling it a “historic day.”
He spoke to Russia’s President Vladmir Putin about the decision, saying he wanted to “say it straight.”
I, or Finland, are not known to sneak around and quietly disappear behind a corner.
Russia’s president had previously told Finland it would be a “mistake” to join NATO, which was founded in 1949 to counter the threat from the Soviet Union.
President Putin mentioned Ukraine’s intention to join the alliance as one of the reasons for the invasion.