Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine to display his might and most importantly stop Ukraine from taking NATO membership. However, Russia’s assault on it’s neighbor has made more countries think about aligning with NATO.
Nearby Finland and Sweden are rethinking their long-standing positions of military neutrality, with a majority of voters now favoring membership of the 30-member alliance for the first time.
Citizens from these countries favor joining NATO, recent opinion polls in Sweden and Finland have found.
Finland’s former prime minister said the recent Finnish poll represents a “reversal” in public opinion reflecting the “rational fear” currently felt by the public.
″[It’s] fear of an aggressive superpower in the form of Russia. Fear of an aggressor and a military power,” Alexander Stubb told reporters.
Prospective NATO members can apply to the defense bloc by meeting certain political and economic requirements, with eventual admittance being voted on by existing member states.
However, any move for the two Nordic states to join is unlikely to be speedy or straightforward.
Putin has long viewed NATO’s refusal to block its neighbor, Ukraine, from the alliance as an act of military aggression, listing it among a series of preconditions for halting his current assault. Admitting Finland or Sweden would likely be met with similar resistance.
Russia’s defense minister has previously said such moves would be met with military consequences. Already, Russian warplanes have reportedly been intruding into Swedish airspace.