On Tuesday, Sweden and Finland took another major step towards becoming a member of the NATO alliance. All 30 NATO member states signed an accession protocol for the two Nordic countries. It is now up to the governments to ratify the protocols.
Both Sweden and Finland has a history of working with NATO as a partner country. They have participated in NATO meetings and participated in military exercises. Both nations ended decades of neutrality by asking to become NATO members after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Last week the Turkish government under one NATO summit in Madrid decided to lift its veto on the two countries’ bids. This followed assurances to Ankara that Finland and Sweden would do more to fight terrorism.
“This is a good day for Finland and Sweden, and a good day for NATO. With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger and our people will be even more secure as we face the biggest security crisis in decades,” said NATO Secretary General. Jens Stoltenberg.
“NATO’s door remains open European democracies who are ready and willing to contribute to our shared security, he added. NATO posted one video on Twitter which contained all of Stoltenberg’s introductory speeches.
The signing of the minutes means that both Sweden and Finland can participate in NATO meetings and have access to the alliance’s intelligence. They will not be fully protected by NATO’s Article 5 defense clause, which states that an attack on an ally is an attack on everyone, until ratification. It will probably take up to a year. However, the US President Joe Biden in May promised that the United States will cooperate with Finland and Sweden to ensure their security during the accession process.
Russia is softening its tone
Stoltenberg confirmed that NATO will work to address any security issues that the two countries may have. “Security in Finland and Sweden is important for our alliance, even during the ratification process,” he said.
“Many allies have already made clear commitments to the security of Finland and Sweden, and NATO has increased our presence in the region, including with more exercises.”
Russia had initially warned both countries to join NATO. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said a few months ago that “the alliance remains a tool focused on confrontation”. Peskov added that Russia would need to “rebalance the situation” with its own measures if Sweden and Finland joined the alliance.
In February, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, warned of “military and political consequences” if the countries join the bloc.
But confronted with the realization that both countries would indeed join the alliance, Moscow softened its tone somewhat. “With Sweden and Finland, we do not have the problems we have with Ukraine. They want to join NATO, continue, said President Vladimir Putin Russian TV.
“But they must understand that there was no threat before, while now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we must respond in kind and create the same threat to the territories from which threats against us are created,” he added.
NATO was created April 4, 1949with three distinct missions: to deter Soviet expansionism, to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence, and to encourage European political integration.
In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow demanded that NATO not expand further east. But Putin’s invasion has had the opposite effect.
Steve Balestrieri has been a National Security columnist since 1945. He served as a non-commissioned officer for the US Army Special Forces and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has watched the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News in Massachusetts.