On May 17, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finnish President Sauli Niiniste signed NATO membership applications. On May 18, the Swedish and Finnish ambassadors handed over their applications to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. These applications will be considered by the North Atlantic Alliance Council. The ratification procedure by all 30 allied parliaments of the military bloc could take up to a year.
Jens Stoltenberg noted that NATO is counting on Finland and Sweden to move quickly toward membership.
He said, «Thank you for your applications. All countries have the right to decide their own security issues, and I welcome Finland and Sweden as members of NATO». This could speed up the process of countries joining NATO.
The official position of the Finnish Foreign Ministry is that their membership is not against any country, but Finland is thinking about its security. Although Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has previously noted that Finland can no longer rely on a peaceful future next to Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the accession of the countries to NATO. In his opinion, such an act would only aggravate the already difficult international situation, but it would not pose a threat to Russia. Russia will take any action only if NATO expands the military structure in these countries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also spoke out about Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
In the video, he states: “Both Finland and Sweden have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years. Their territory is taken into account in NATO’s military planning to move eastward. We will see how their territory will be used in the North Atlantic Alliance, we will draw conclusions. With Germany losing its autonomy, France unsuccessfully pushing its views on strategic autonomy, the EU is merging with NATO in practice, now in membership.”
Despite statements by Russian and Finnish politicians, Russian and Finnish military vehicles were spotted near the Russian-Finnish border.
Iskander tactical missile systems were spotted near the Finnish border. Russia decided to strengthen its northern border in light of Finland’s accession to NATO. The first video shows the Iskander complexes (video taken from Russian territory), while the second video shows the K9 Thunder howitzers (video taken from Finnish territory).
Almost all NATO members welcomed Finland and Sweden into the military bloc. However, Turkey was partially opposed. Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu had a telephone conversation with Stoltenberg.
As a result, Stoltenberg published the following comment: “Turkey is a valuable ally, and all security concerns must be addressed. We must be together at this historic moment.”
In turn, Cavusoglu responded that the dialogue was rather contradictory and that Stoltenberg was too optimistic. Çavuşoğlu told Stoltenberg that Sweden and Finland support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Self-Defense Units terrorist organizations in all formats, including in trilateral talks and at NATO meetings. This position of Sweden and Finland does not suit Turkey.
At a press conference, Çavuşoğlu said: «We took this position because we believe that countries that support terrorism should not be NATO allies».
Turkey decided to take advantage of a clever political move. In exchange for the approval of new NATO members, the Turkish authorities demanded the re-introduction of F-35 fighter jets and the lifting of sanctions for the purchase of Russian S-400. The requirements for applicants to join NATO were added: Sweden and Finland, among other things, must lift the arms export embargo. Thus, Turkey wants to use concessions in the political aspect to increase its military potential.
Expert Robert Pshel, an independent expert of the Pulaski Foundation, said that the border with NATO will double in Russia, and he described the accession of countries to NATO as a miscalculation of the Kremlin because it was important for Russia not to expand NATO. This shows the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO are not good news at all.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Erdoğan Aims To Leverage New Advantages By Vetoing Swedish And Finnish NATO Membership
- Ignoring The Middle East At One’s Peril: Turkey Plays Games In NATO
- Russia’s Weak Response to Finland’s Joining NATO
- Britain Signed Agreement On Mutual Security Guarantees With Finland And Sweden