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Finland and Sweden to 'officially announce' intention to join NATO, ex-Swedish PM claims


The two Scandinavian countries could join fellow Nordic nations, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway, in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation if their applications to join the military bloc are successful. Carl Bildt, who served as the Prime Minister of Sweden from 1991 to 1994, took to social media to confirm that Helsinki and Stockholm were on the cusp of submitting their respective requests. Writing on Twitter late on Wednesday night, Mr Bildt said: “Tomorrow morning, Finland will officially announce its intention to seek NATO membership. And Sweden will follow within days.”

Mr Bildt’s comment comes after Boris Johnson visited Finland and Sweden to unveil parallel defence pacts.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, even confirmed the UK would offer military support during a “possible conflict with Russia”.

He said: “I think the solemn declaration is itself clear.

“And what it says is that in the event of a disaster, or in the event of an attack on either of us, then yes, we will come to each other’s assistance, including with military assistance.

“But the nature of that assistance will of course depend upon the request of the other party.

“However, it’s also intended to be the foundation of an intensification of our security and our defence relationship in other ways as well.”

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He added: “It’s pivotal because the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the equation of European security and it has rewritten our reality and reshaped our future.

“We’ve seen the end of the post-Cold War period and the invasion of Ukraine sadly has opened a new chapter.”

Mr Johnson also promised his Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, that the UK “will not hesitate” to act in the event of an attack during a visit to Flen.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace responded to the announcement on Twitter.

He said: “I am delighted by the announcement from the British and Swedish Prime Ministers on a mutual security agreement.

“Through the JEF and bilateral partnerships my counterpart Peter Hultqvist @ForsvarsdepSv and I constantly work to strengthen UK-Swedish defence ties.”

READ MORE: Russia threat: PM has ‘letters of last resort’ ready to go

A recent Demoskop survey also found 57 percent of Swedes now also favour NATO membership.

If either nation joined the bloc then they would be the first country since North Macedonia, which only obtained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, to accede into NATO.

However, US Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who commanded all American land forces in Europe, appeared supportive of the potential Scandinavian expansion.

He said: “Sweden and Finland joining Nato is huge – a very positive development.

“They are two very strong democracies, and the military of both is very good, capable and modernised, with remarkable mobilisation systems.”



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