NATO: Finnish minister calls for 'swift' accession process
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Sweden and Finland are close to ending their neutrality and joining NATO following continued threats from Russian officials hoping to discourage opposition. Joining the alliance would ensure the countries’ safety, but experts have said it could backfire on the West, with the risk of NATO welcoming new allies edging the Ukraine conflict towards a world war.
Last week, Moscow said it would prepare nuclear weapons in the Baltics alongside its ground and air forces should the Scandinavian nations join the alliance.
Russian security council member and former president Dmitry Medvedev said his country would have to “reinforce” borders around Finland and Sweden.
He added that any talk of “nuclear-free status for the Baltics” would end in this instance.
As a result, Express.co.uk asked readers for their opinion on whether the UK should encourage Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
In a poll that ran from midday on Friday, April 22, to 3pm on Saturday, April 23, Express.co.uk asked: “Should UK encourage Sweden and Finland to join NATO after Russia threats?”
A total of 1,417 readers cast their votes with the vast majority – 82 percent (1,166 people) – answering “yes”, the UK should encourage Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
A further 16 percent (230 people) said “no” and just two percent (21 people) said they did not know either way.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying poll with readers sharing their views on whether Sweden and Finland should join NATO.
Both Sweden and Finland are already NATO partners meaning that despite not being full members they can take part in training exercises and receive briefings.
Joining NATO requires approval from all 30 NATO states and can take four months to a year to approve and process.
Many were in favour of Sweden and Finland joining NATO with username mfj2305 writing: “Should not need any encouragement.”
While username DaWilko said: “Of course we should.”
Username IoW said: “If they don’t then they cannot expect any help from NATO when Putin attacks them.”
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Yet others thought that the decision was not for the UK to influence, with username phil3810666 commenting: “We should keep out of other countries’ politics.”
Username SanjayP said: “The choice to join NATO is a sovereign choice. It’s not up to the UK to encourage or discourage membership.”
Username joeyb90 said: “No need to encourage any nation to make these decisions. It’s up to them.
“However if I were them I’d certainly apply to join and as NATO, I would accept them.”
And username Bumpy Grollix said: “We should NOT interfere in their decision whether to join NATO or not, it is for them to decide.”
Many commented that the choice was down to Sweden and Finland.
Username Sman said: “Sweden and Finland both have to decide themselves without any pressure put on them by NATO or Russia.
“If they join it should be because each country has made the decision by themselves only.”
Username Cobblers_ said: “No, we shouldn’t encourage them to join. It is their choice to make, not ours.
“We should say that we would accept their application if they choose to make one but we shouldn’t be trying to influence others to join or leave.”
Another, username Dibbley 1981 wrote: “Sweden and Finland should join of their own volition but we shouldn’t encourage them but if they do accept by all means make every effort to invite them in.”
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