NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Finland and Sweden would be quickly brought into the alliance should they seek membership, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stokes security concerns on the bloc’s eastern flank.
“Of course, it’s for them to decide but, if they apply, I expect that they will be very much welcomed by all 30 allies and that we will find ways to do that in a relatively quick way to take them into the alliance if they so want,” Stoltenberg said on Sunday in an interview with CNN.
Stoltenberg made his comments after meeting last week with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, noting that NATO’s main message was that it’s for Finland to decide whether to join the alliance. He said the same is true of Sweden.
We respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Finland and their right to decide their own future,” the secretary-general said. “That’s exactly what Russia do not respect, because they actually try to intimidate and to say that if Finland decides to join NATO, there will be consequences.”
Although both countries are EU members, they have stayed out of NATO, maintaining a neutral status militarily. Finnish lawmakers are considering whether to seek NATO membership and, given that polls show increasing public support for the idea, Niinistö said on Wednesday that it’s no longer necessary to hold a public referendum on the issue.
Public opinion has shifted dramatically since Russia began its military offensive in Ukraine in February. A record-high 62% of Finns now favor NATO membership, according to media outlet YLE. Previous polls showed that a majority opposed joining the alliance. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) land border with Russia.
Read more: Blatant provocation – Cult-owned (to his DNA) NATO chief says Finland and Sweden can join in ‘quick way’: Psychopath Stoltenberg doesn’t want a resolution because his Cult masters don’t and neither does Zelensky for the same reason