The potential entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO should serve as a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the alliance remains ready to accept new countries, and Putin himself, who demanded NATO's refusal to expand, achieved the opposite with a war in Ukraine. This was stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a press conference following the signing of a memorandum between Finland, Sweden and Turkey. Until yesterday, Turkey was the only NATO country opposed to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.
“He wanted less NATO, but now President Putin will get more NATO at the Russian borders,” Stoltenberg said.
If Finland and Sweden are admitted to NATO, this will "change the whole situation in the Baltic region": they will "cover" Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and strengthen the bloc's presence in the region, Stoltenberg says.
In December 2021, Putin pushed for the US and NATO to provide Russia with written security guarantees.
“We were given promises not to advance the infrastructure one inch. They said one thing, they did another. Now NATO is in Poland, Romania, the Baltic countries. As we say among the people, they threw, deceived. Then the US withdrew from the missile defense treaty. And now the launchers are in Romania and will soon be in Poland. And there are installations on which you can install "Tomahawks" - shock missiles. Isn't that a threat to us?" - Putin said on February 1.
Sweden and Finland officially announced in mid-May that they intended to apply for membership in NATO. The decision to abandon the previous policy of neutrality was prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
For a country to join NATO, all three dozen countries that are members of the alliance must support its application.