Russia warns Sweden and Finland against joining NATO as a result of the Ukraine conflict.

Russia has warned Finland and Sweden against joining Nato, claiming that doing so will jeopardize Europe’s stability.

Nato was created in 1949 to fight the threat of Soviet expansion and dominance, and a number of previously communist eastern European countries have joined the military alliance following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the case of an armed attack on any member state, member states undertake to come to each other’s aid.

Ukraine War: Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membershipRussia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, warned in February that joining the group would have “military and political implications.” On Monday, April 11, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “the alliance remains a mechanism geared toward confrontation” and that Moscow is unambiguous in its opposition to any prospective alliance expansion.

“This is not the kind of partnership that provides peace and stability,” Peskov cautioned, “and its continued extension will not bring additional security to the European continent.”

Russia’s threat comes as US defense officials expect Sweden and Finland to apply for Nato membership as soon as June, citing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine as a “major geopolitical miscalculation” that will likely lead to Nato enlargement.

The Western alliance would grow to 32 members as a result of the decision, according to US State Department sources, who claimed last week that talks between Nato leaders and foreign ministers from Helsinki and Stockholm had taken place. Russia requested that the alliance promise to suspend any future enlargement before invading Ukraine, but the war has resulted in the deployment of additional Nato soldiers on its eastern flank and a boost in public support for Swedish and Finnish membership.

Finland’s lawmakers are due to receive a security report from intelligence officials this week, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin has stated that her government aims to “finish the discussion by midsummer” on whether to submit an application for membership. Finland and Russia share a 1,340-kilometer (830-mile) border, and the invasion of Ukraine has enraged Finland.

While Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party, which has long opposed Nato membership, has stated that in light of Russia’s attack on its western neighbor, it is reconsidering its position. Tobias Baudin, the party’s secretary, told local media that the Nato review should be completed in the coming months. “Sweden’s security stance altered fundamentally when Russia invaded Ukraine,” the party stated in a statement on Monday.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, both countries have increased their defense budget. Army chiefs in Helsinki revealed a new plan on Monday to spend €14 million (£10.88 million) on drones for Finland’s military.

Last month, Swedish officials said that in 2022, they would increase defense spending by three billion kronas ($317 million; £243 million).

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