Finland and Sweden are inching closer to abandoning their long-held neutrality and joining NATO as Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine continues to yield devastation some have called genocide.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Wednesday that her country would decide whether to join the seven-decade-old military alliance within “weeks.” Her party has already begun weighing the pros and cons of applying.
Marin was joined at a news conference by her Swedish counterpart, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. Both Nordic leaders said Russia’s Ukraine invasion had changed how they think about their national security.
“The European security architecture has changed fundamentally after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Marin said.
“There is a before and after 24th of February,” Andersson added, referencing the first day of the invasion. “The security landscape has completely changed.”
A larger NATO is exactly what Russian President Vladimir Putin did not want, and the Kremlin has warned both nations against joining the alliance.
Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, but has so far declined to join NATO, which aims to curtail Russian aggression. Sweden’s neighbor to the west, Norway, is already a NATO member. Public support for joining NATO’s 30 member countries is around 60% in Finland and 50% in Sweden, according to The Guardian, citing multiple opinion polls.
On Tuesday, atrocities revealed after Russian troop movements prompted President Joe Biden to accuse Putin of committing “genocide” against Ukrainians, echoing assertions by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.