Iltalehti: Finland and Sweden intend to join NATO

Iltalehti: Finland and Sweden intend to join NATO

Finland and Sweden will apply for NATO membership, as planned, simultaneously. According to the newspaper Iltalehti, this will take place between May 16 and 20.

According to the newspaper, the applications of both countries are to be published in the week beginning May 16, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is scheduled to visit Sweden at the invitation of King Carl XVI Gustaf on May 17-18.

Finnish and Swedish leaders will meet separately to announce the readiness of their countries to join the alliance, the newspaper said.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO would be able to quickly accept these countries in case of their request.

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto also said that in order to soften Russia’s negative reaction to the country’s joining NATO, the decision should be made together with Sweden in the week ending May 22. Sources in Swedish government confirmed the information to the Swedish tabloid Expression.  The military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to growing support in Sweden and Finland, Russia’s neighboring countries, for NATO membership, the media noted.

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