Putin’s Bullying Backfires as Finland and Sweden Edge Closer to Joining NATO

Photo credit: AFP

When Russian President Vladimir Putin first invaded Ukraine, his intentions were clear: he wanted to bring Ukraine to heel, assert Russian authority in Eastern Europe, and stop Western countries from expanding militarily and politically toward Russia’s borders, experts say. 

One of the demands Russia first had on Ukraine was that the country was never allowed into the US-led defensive alliance NATO. 

Experts also say that it seems like Putin was afraid of the West uniting against Moscow. Now, both Finland and Sweden, two countries that officially are non-aligned, are coming even closer to joining NATO. 

Finland is expected to produce a report on its security policy this week, which is one of the key steps to applying to join NATO. This report is expected to begin discussions in the country’s parliament about whether they want to join NATO. Finland said today it could decide on the matter within a matter of weeks.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that she hoped the discussion would wrap up before mid-summer. Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that it was important that its neighboring country Sweden also took a similar process, and hoped that they would make decisions around the same time. 

In Sweden, the Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, did not rule out the possibility of membership in NATO and said that the country is also undertaking an analysis of security policy, to be completed at the end of May. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, public opinion has shifted significantly. Officials in both countries appear to support joining NATO, and NATO allies and officials seem very supportive of both countries joining as well. It is expected that the objection could come from Hungary because the leader is close with Putin. 

The Kremlin is quite obviously against NATO expanding any further. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskrov warned that an expansion would not bring Europe any more stability, and said that the alliance was really a “tool for confrontation” rather than a tool of peace and stability. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.