Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “dramatically shaped mindsets” of people in Nordic states when it comes to applying for Nato membership, Finland and Sweden’s prime ministers have suggested this week.
Finland’s premier Sanna Marin said the country would need to decide “quite fast, in weeks not months”, if it would join the military alliance, amid fears about possible Russian militarism amid the war in Ukraine.
Scandinavian countries joining the alliance would draw the ire of Vladimir Putin, who has warned about the move, an invaded Ukraine over the alleged eastward expansion of Nato.
Speaking this week, Marin said alongside Sweden’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson, their countries had to be “prepared for all kinds of actions from Russia”.
“The difference between being a partner and a member [of Nato] is very clear, and will remain so. There is no other way to have security guarantees than under Nato’s deterrence and common defence as guaranteed by the alliance’s article 5,” she said, according to the Guardian.
Contemplating the application to join Nato, Andersson said it must be viewed in terms of “before and after 24 February,” the date of Russia’s invasion.
“This is a very important time in history. The security landscape has completely changed. We have to analyse the situation to see what is best for Sweden’s security, for the Swedish people, in this new situation.”
Issuing a stark warning, Marin said “people’s mindsets” about the issue had “changed and were shaped very dramatically” by the war.
Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet has reported Andersson would seek to join by June.
Finland needed “to be very frank about consequences and the risks.. both if we apply and if we do not apply.”
Baltic state and Nato member Estonia has asked for more British troops on the ground to deter an attack by Moscow, with a senior defence official saying Russia is “planning to invade our country”.
Currently, according to the Times, there are 1,650 UK soldiers there, with more than half arriving since the invasion of Ukraine.
The country has appealed for more troops on the ground, and for neighbouring states such as Latvia and Lithuania to also boost their Nato presence.
Kusti Salm, the permanent secretary at Estonia’s ministry of defence, called Vladimir Putin a “historic-level murderer” due to its war against Ukraine, and that Nato’s presence must be “ramped up” on its border.
“The intent of Russia has always been clear.
“They are planning to invade our country.”