The United States supports Finland and Sweden taking steps to join the NATO alliance, the White House said.
“The United States would support a NATO application by Finland and Sweden, should they choose to apply,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday. “I would note that even without them being members of NATO, our militaries have worked together for many years.”
FINLAND'S LEADERS ANNOUNCE INTENTION TO JOIN NATO ALLIANCE
Finland, which shares an 830-mile border with Russia, and neighboring Sweden have taken preliminary steps in their applications since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. A final decision would mean abandoning decades-old policies of neutrality for both countries. NATO’s Article 5 provision commits members to mutual protection in the event of an attack.
Finland’s leaders announced their intention to seek NATO membership Thursday, with the potential for a vote in the Finnish Parliament coming as early as next week.
“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” the Finnish leaders said. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
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A response by Russia’s foreign ministry said Moscow would “be forced” to take retaliatory actions if Helsinki proceeds and is successful.