NATO: what does the decision of Finland and Sweden to request their entry into the military alliance mean (after their strong defense of neutrality)

  • Jose Carlos Cueto
  • BBC News World

Military exercise in Finland in collaboration with other NATO member countries on May 4.

image source, Getty Images

Caption,

Finland and Sweden have been collaborating with NATO for decades despite not being official members.

For decades, Sweden and Finland remained neutral amid simmering rivalries between the two political blocs represented by Washington and Moscow.

But everything has changed in a matter of weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February 24.

This Sunday, Finland announced its decision to formally apply for NATO membership, the US-led military alliance and other Western powers whose enlargement has been used by Russia as one of the justifications for invading its neighbor.

And Sweden joined Finland with a similar announcement on Monday.

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