By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BERLIN/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Sweden and Finland confirmed Sunday that they would apply for membership in the NATO military alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Sweden, the ruling Social Democrats said they backed joining the world’s most powerful security organization.
The announcement came soon after Finland formally announced earlier on Sunday that it would apply to join NATO.
Sweden’s Social Democrats said they would “work toward” membership as it is backed by the public and most opposition parties, with a formal application likely within days.
But in a move that was expected to cause diplomatic wrangling, the Social Democrats cautioned that they were opposed to stationing nuclear weapons or hosting NATO bases.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday the process for Finland and Sweden to join could be swift. He also didn’t expect Turkey to hold up the process after its president accused Scandinavian countries of hosting “terrorists,” including Kurdish groups.
Speaking after top diplomats from the alliance’s 30 member states met in Berlin, Stoltenberg also expressed hope that Ukraine could win the war as Russian military advances appear to be faltering in the east.
In Finland, President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin confirmed their country would seek membership in NATO. The Nordic country, which was nonaligned before changing its stance on NATO, shares a long border with Russia.
“This is a historic day. A new era begins,” Niinisto said.
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