Swedish newspaper Expressen on Monday confirmed the information of the Finnish media that Sweden and Finland are preparing to jointly apply to NATO on May 16-20.
On Monday, the Finnish Iltalehti newspaper reported that the applications of Finland and Sweden to NATO should be published in the week starting May 16. A state visit of the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto to Sweden at the invitation of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is scheduled for the same week, May 17 to 18.
“The information is correct and now there should be an agreement between Sweden and Finland that any applications must be submitted in that particular week [week 20], which also coincides with Finland’s state visit to Sweden. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto arrives in Stockholm on May 17-18,” Expressen reported, citing sources.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia has warned Sweden and Finland about the consequences of joining NATO.
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine launched on February 24 spurred an extensive debate both in Finland and Sweden on NATO membership, with the two countries considering the possibility of abandoning years of neutrality and joining the military bloc. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier that the alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden and would ensure their quick accession if they choose to apply.