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Monday, June 24, 2024

Russian Ambassador Warns Finland and Sweden Against Joining NATO

The Russian ambassador to Sweden has issued a warning that Finland and Sweden would be in danger of becoming targets for Moscow if they were to join NATO. The ambassador claims that after their accession, the total length of borders between Russia and NATO would almost double, making them legitimate targets for Russian retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature.

Despite being closely allied with NATO for over two decades, Finland and Sweden were not formal members of the military alliance until they submitted bids to join last May. Russia has repeatedly threatened the Nordic pair, with tensions escalating after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, public opinion in Finland swung dramatically in favor of joining NATO, with polls indicating that support had topped 80%, and Sweden’s had neared two-thirds.

To become full members of NATO, all 30 countries must ratify their applications. Finland is currently waiting for Turkey to ratify their bid, while Hungary has already ratified and is expected to drop the instrument of ratification in Washington DC on Friday. Sweden’s candidacy is still in question, with Ankara blocking its entry and Hungary delaying ratification. Both countries are believed to be biding their time to extract political concessions from Stockholm, with Hungary seeking concessions from the EU, and Turkey hoping for advantageous access to military programs from the US.

By joining NATO, Finland and Sweden would be taking a significant step towards greater security and stability. However, they must also be prepared for potential retaliatory measures from Russia. As the situation continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these countries navigate their relationship with both NATO and Russia.

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