For decades, Finland and Sweden have been Nato’s closest partners without being inside the organisation.
Membership would be mean if Russia were to attack them it would be treated as an attack on all Nato countries. “A final decision is expected from the Finns and Swedes in the coming days.”
If they join, Russia would face Nato member states from the Arctic down to the Black Sea.
Moscow claims further Nato expansion would be a ‘hostile move’ and represent a further threat to its security – and is promising to respond. “Finland and Sweden’s applications would have to be approved unanimously by the current 30 Nato members.”
So far Turkey has been the only one to speak out against such a move – claiming both countries harbour “terrorist organisations” – which is taken to be a reference to Kurdish militant groups.
It’s unclear whether this is temporary opposition from Ankara or a potentially bigger hurdle in a Nato expansion process.
BBC /Shakirat Sadiq