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Finland and Sweden have formally applied to join the NATO alliance, a decision sparked by growing security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The ambassadors of the two countries to the alliance officially handed over the requests to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
IN statementNATO said Stoltenberg warmly welcomed the demands, describing the move as a “historic step”.
Stoltenberg said: “This is a good day at a critical time for our security. Thank you very much for applying for the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO.
“Every nation has the right to choose its own path. You both made your choice after in-depth democratic processes. I also warmly welcome the requests of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
“You are our closest partners. And your membership in NATO will increase our common security. “
Applications will now be considered by the 30 member states. The Nordic countries require the support of all members to join the military alliance.
Several members have already expressed their support, while Turkey has expressed reservations.
Separately, Finland and Sweden will focus on the joint purchase of portable firearms and anti-tank weapons, Reuters reported quotes the Finnish Ministry of Defense.
Finland will join an agreement to purchase anti-tank weapons from Sweden’s Saab Dynamics. The ministry also gave the green light for a plan that would allow the joint purchase of firearms such as submachine guns, rifles and personal protective weapons.
Last week, the United Kingdom signed mutual security guarantees with Sweden and Finland to strengthen defense co-operation.