Finland Sweden NATO

Finland, Sweden and NATO




brazen order (2) cooperate
expand flourish lead/led/led
repeat invasion timetable
border statistics current (3)
join state (2) far/further/furthest
inch alliance headquarters
fury collapse significance
length trick (2) equation (2)
threat response dent/denies
retreat neutral within (2)
official strength reserve (3)
soldier strategy backbone (2)
tactic majority minority (2)
satisfy settle (2) intervention
poll deceive balance (3)
as well situation considered
offer prepare membership
declare defense collective
fierce issue (3) present (3)
treaty term (3) keep/kept/kept (2)
against territory assessment
doubt force (2) immediate
risk area (2) parliament
involve tension resistance
precise pressure article (3)
hyper security additional
side (2) influence chance (2)
dispute renew (2) measure (2)






When Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, he repeatedly said it was in part a response to NATO’s expansion.

Two months on, there’s a good chance his invasion will lead to Russia’s land border with NATO doubling in length, because just as Ukraine borders Russia so does Finland.

And Finland may soon join NATO.

Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland: “I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions. But I think it will happen quite fast within weeks not within months.”

That’s the current Finnish prime minister. This former prime minister goes further.

Alexander Stubb, Former Prime Minister of Finland: “I think that Finland and most possibly Sweden as well will be become members of NATO by the end of this year.”

And that would be a moment of huge significance. NATO is already the world’s biggest military alliance, its headquarters are in Brussels, and its 30 members include the US the UK, Germany and France.

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Some other members are in Eastern Europe. They’re here in light purple. They joined after the collapse of the Soviet Union much to Vladimir Putin’s fury.

Vladimir Putin, Russian President: “‘We won’t move one inch towards the east,’ they told us in the 1990s. And what happened?

They deceived us. They brazenly tricked us.”

NATO denies its expansion as a threat. But that’s how Russia sees it and that expansion may be about to continue.

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Finland’s already a member of the EU and it cooperates with NATO.

And while it’s unofficially neutral in military terms, it is a military player: most men in Finland do military service. Official statistics show a wartime strength of 280,000 soldiers and nine-hundred-thousand reservists.

And the Finnish defense forces describe themselves as “The backbone of our society.”

Finland’s military strategy had felt settled.

Sauli Niinisto, President of Finland: “The majority of Finns have been quite satisfied with our security solutions; nothing bad has happened for decades.”

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But now we have Vladimir Putin’s intervention. In February, Russia showed the world it would attack a neighbor. And that changed the equation for Finland — a recent poll found 62 percent of Finn’s support joining NATO. In 2017, it was 21.

No doubt Finns are aware of NATO’s Article 5 which states “An attack against one or several of its members is considered as an attack against all.” In other words NATO membership offers Finland the security of collective defense.

And just as for Ukraine the present and the past informs how Finland views Russia. Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917.

But in 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Finland it was met with fierce resistance. And while it would retreat, it kept nearly 10% of Finnish territory.

Then after the Second World War, Finland and the Soviet Union signed a friendship treaty, and the neutrality that came with that has been the basis of Finland’s military strategy since.

Now though there’s a reassessment.

Antti Kaikkonen, Finland’s Defence Minister: “Finland is not facing an immediate military threat. But we must look to the future as well. Finland must be prepared for the use or the threat of use of military force against it, as well as for political pressure.”

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Being prepared may involve being in NATO. But Finland knows that brings risks. A recent report to the Finnish parliament notes this could lead to “increased tension on the border between Finland and Russia.”

And would move the NATO alliance closer to strategically important areas in Russia.

And that is an issue for the Russian government the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says it would have to “rebalance the situation” with its own measures if Finland and Sweden join.

He also warned that further expansion will not bring additional security to the European continent, and Finland is listening to this. Here’s the prime minister again.

Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland: “Of course there are many risks and we have to be prepared for all kind of actions uh from Russia: hyper threats uh cyber attacks uh different kind of uh influencing from Russia’s side.”

Finland and Sweden also know that if they ask few expect NATO to say no.

Shashank Joshi, Defence Editor, The Economist: “There’s a sense that why would you want these two uh pro-European members of the EU flourishing democracies strong armies outside of NATO if you can have them in. I think there’s no real dispute.

All of which means there’s a renewed focus on this part of Europe as the BBC’s Iohn Simpson described in March.

John Simpson, BBC Journalist: “This could one day be the border between NATO and Russia — it’s the precise opposite of what Russia wanted.”

And it’s an outcome that could happen within months.

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Ukraine. The official reason why Russia invaded Ukraine was for imperialistic, territorial expansion, and to revive the Tsarist Empire. Is this right or wrong

Finland. Finland and Sweden wish to have nothing to do with military alliances. Is this entirely true, mostly true, yes and no, in the middle, largely false, completely false or it depends? Has this attitude been constant or has it changed?

Sweden, Norway, Denmark. Will it take many years of negotiations, upgrading and integration before Finland and Sweden can join NATO?

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union, did the US, UK, France and Germany threaten and force Poland, Estonia, Slovakia and Romania to join NATO?

Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Is Finland a (completely) pacifist nation? Do they have a disdain for guns?

Poland. Are Finno-Russian / Russo-Finnish relations new?

Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic. Joining NATO will definitely ensure security for Finland. Is this correct or incorrect?

Romania, Moldova. Does NATO have deep reservations about Finland and Sweden joining NATO?
Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro. Is your country part of a military alliance or trading block? Who is considered a potential “enemy” or “threat”?

Bulgaria, Macedonia.
What have been some historical lessons? Does history shape current policies and public attitudes? Does history repeat itself?

Croatia, Slovenia. Is the public divided over war and geopolitics? Are there debates, disagreements and arguments over geopolitics and war?

Greece, Cyprus. How could the current situation be solved?

Turkey. What might happen in the future?

Germany, France, UK. How could future conflicts be avoided?

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