Sweden and Finland are ready to oppose all possible Russian activities and respond to threats, the foreign ministers of the two countries said in Helsinki today, which could soon apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), reports Anadolu Agency (.).
“All political parties are now discussing NATO membership in the Swedish parliament, and a decision is expected on May 13,” Ann Linde told a joint news conference with Finnish counterpart Pekko Haavisto in Helsinki, Finland. official visit.
“The overall impression is that if Sweden and Finland apply, it will be positively received by NATO members,” she said.
Noting that Swedish-Finnish bilateral relations are “uniquely broad”, Linde said Finland’s decision on NATO membership would have a significant impact on Sweden on the issue.
Asked what Russia’s reaction would be if Sweden applied for NATO membership, Linde said that they were closely monitoring everything and were ready to “oppose all possible Russian activities”.
Answering the question about Finland’s membership in the alliance, the head of diplomacy of that country, Haavisto, stated that his country, if it joins NATO, will be a “contributor to security”.
“We have a conscript army and we have a reserve of 280,000 soldiers for crisis situations,” he explained, adding that they are also investing in new military equipment.
Referring to relations with Sweden, Haavisto said that the neighboring country is their “most important bilateral partner”.
“It will be very important that Finland and Sweden make decisions in the same direction and within the same time frame, while fully respecting the independence of our decision-making,” he said.
Asked whether Finland and Sweden would take joint measures to counter potential Russian influence, Havisto said:
“Of course, if our security environment is more challenging, we can add that bilateral planning, which includes all sectors of military cooperation, and security cooperation is very deep and ready to respond to many types of threats,” said the Finnish Prime Minister.
According to media reports, Finland and Sweden have agreed to apply for NATO membership together in mid-May.
The two countries maintained strict military neutrality during the Cold War and signed a partnership agreement with NATO in 1995.
After Russia launched a war against neighboring Ukraine, support for NATO membership has grown significantly in both countries.
Russia has repeatedly stated that Finland and Sweden should not join NATO, and it justified the attack on Ukraine, among other things, by the offensive expansion of NATO to the east.
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