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    Finland and Sweden have both submitted their applications to join the NATO alliance, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. The ambassadors to NATO from the two Nordic countries each handed their application letters to Stoltenberg during a ceremony at the alliance headquarters in Brussels. The process of joining the 30-nation alliance is expected to be quick, with members signaling that they don't want the ratification period, which typically takes up to a year, to drag on. The decision to submit applications for NATO membership was spurred by Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. "This is a historic moment, which we must seize," Stoltenberg said Wednesday. "I warmly welcome requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners, and your membership in NATO will increase our shared security." SWEDEN SHOOTS DOWN TURKEY'S OBJECTIONS TO NATO APPLICATION Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed concerns this week about the two countries joining the alliance and signaled that he will block their bids. However, NATO's secretary-general expressed on Wednesday that he thought Turkey's reservations could be resolved....
    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s leader voices strong objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, claims they’re too lax on Kurdish militants. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly implied Monday that Turkey will block Sweden and Finland's bid to join the NATO alliance. Erdogan said Ankara will vote against countries that impose sanctions on it and told the two Nordic countries not to bother visiting Turkey to try to change his mind. SWEDEN ANNOUNCES INTENT TO JOIN NATO "Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organizations. How can we trust them," Erdogan said at a news conference Monday, according to Reuters. "They are coming to Turkey on Monday. Are they coming to convince us? Excuse me, but they should not tire themselves." Erdogan previously threw cold water on the Nordic nations' bid to join the alliance last Friday, when he stressed Ankara did not have a favorable opinion of Finland or Sweden joining the alliance, highlighting their support of Kurdish groups he considers "terrorist organizations." However, his remarks Monday were even more pointed. "We would not say yes to those who impose sanctions on Turkey joining NATO," Erdogan said at a news conference,...
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Monday that Congress could ratify Finland's NATO membership by the end of this summer. He held a press conference alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto after leading a small delegation of senior GOP senators to Ukraine, Sweden and Finland over the weekend. It comes as the US and its western allies seek to fast-track Finland and Sweden's membership to NATO, spurred by Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched in February. McConnell said he gave the leaders of both nations his 'personal assurance' that he supports their membership in the defensive alliance.  'It was a special honor to visit both these strong, proud nations during the exact days when both countries’ governments were concluding their deliberations and preparing to formally move forward with joining NATO,' the Kentucky Republican said in a statement. 'Sweden and Finland already have long track records as two of the United States’ and NATO’s most capable friends and partners, even from outside the alliance.' Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned their admittance would 'trigger a response' from Moscow.  President of Finland...
    IN May 2022, Finland officially announced its intention join NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But will the decision be approved and who else wants to join? Here's all you need to know. 1Current projections show a large majority of Finland's parliament support the bidCredit: Alamy Is Finland joining Nato? Finland officially announced their intention to join NATO on 15 May 2022. Finnish president Sauli Niinisto said: "Today, the President of the Republic and the Government's Foreign Policy Committee have jointly agreed that Finland will apply for NATO membership, after consulting parliament. This is a historic day. A new era is opening." Prime minister Sanna Marin added: "We have reached today an important decision in good cooperation with the government and the president of the republic. "We hope the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for the NATO membership during the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate." READ MORE ON FINLANDNEW KIDS ON THE BLOC Finland applies to NATO after Russia threat to nuke it in 'seconds'VLAD'S THREAT Putin warns Finland not to join...
    Young Swedish men aged 18 to 29 are the age cohort least supportive of joining the NATO military alliance, while elderly Swedes unlikely to be drafted in wartime are far more likely to support the proposition. A total of 43 per cent of Swedish men aged 18 to 29, the demographic most likely to fight in a war, said they were in favour of joining NATO, while 43 per cent said they were not in favour and wanted the country to remain neutral. For women in the same age range, the support for NATO membership jumps to 45 per cent, with just 32 per cent saying they are against the proposal, according to the poll which was conducted by the firm Novus, broadcaster SVT reports. “[I]t’s still the case that the men are as many for as against. They stand and weigh, it’s not a clear no but a pretty clear ‘well’. Almost every second wants to join and almost every other one does not want to join,” Novus CEO Torbjörn Sjöström told the broadcaster. “Overall… the young are more hesitant...
    Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed disapproval at the idea of Sweden and Finland joining the NATO military alliance, claiming they harbour terrorists and terrorist organisations. President Erdogan hinted at a possible veto of the two Scandinavian countries, as all NATO members must agree unanimously to accept new members into the military alliance. “We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland carefully, but we are not of a favourable opinion,” the Turkish leader said to the media on Friday, Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reports. “[T]he Scandinavian countries, unfortunately, are almost like guesthouses for terrorist organizations. PKK, DHKP-C are nested in the Netherlands and Sweden. I go further, they also take part in the parliaments there. It is not possible for us to have a positive look,” Erdogan said. Erdogan claimed that Sweden, along with other Scandinavian countries, had supported groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is a designated terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and the United States. It was suspected of having a role in the 1986 death of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, although in 2020...
    KYIV, Ukraine -- Almost three months after Russia shocked the world by invading Ukraine, its military faced a bogged-down war, the prospect of a bigger NATO and a defending country buoyed by its win in a hugely popular pan-European music competition Sunday.Top NATO diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, gathered Sunday in Berlin as Finland announced it would apply to join the Western alliance. Sweden's governing party plans to announce its position on seeking NATO membership later Sunday.The two nonaligned Nordic nations becoming part of the alliance would pose an affront to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has justified the war in Ukraine by claiming it was a response to NATO's expansion in Eastern Europe.Western military officials said Sunday that Moscow's campaign in Ukraine, believed to have been launched with the goal of seizing Kyiv and toppling the Ukrainian government, had slowed to a snail's pace. They said the invading Russian army had lost up to one-third of its combat strength since February."The brutal invasion (by) Russia is losing momentum," NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said. "We know...
    (CNN)Finland's government announced Sunday it will apply to join NATO, ditching decades of wartime neutrality and ignoring Russian threats of possible retaliation as the Nordic country attempts to strengthen its security following the onset of the war in Ukraine. The decision was announced at a joint press conference on Sunday with President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who said the move must be ratified by the country's parliament before it can go forward. "We hope that the parliament will confirm the decision to apply for NATO membership," Marin said during a press conference in Helsinki Sunday. "During the coming days. It will be based on a strong mandate, with the President of the Republic. We have been in close contact with governments of NATO member states and NATO itself."The move would bring the US-led military alliance up to Finland's 830-mile border with Russia, but could take months to finalize as legislatures of all 30 current members must approve new applicants.It also risks provoking Russia's ire, whose President Vladimir Putin told his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on Saturday that...
    (CNN)Finland is on the cusp of joining NATO while Sweden is on the verge of following suit. Here's what you need to know about how the war in Ukraine pushed the two Nordic states closer to the US-backed alliance, and what comes next.Why haven't Finland and Sweden already joined NATO?While other Nordic countries like Norway, Denmark and Iceland were original members of the alliance, Sweden and Finland did not join the pact for historic and geopolitical reasons. Both Finland, which declared independence from Russia in 1917 after the Bolshevik revolution, and Sweden adopted neutral foreign policy stances during the Cold War, refusing to align with the Soviet Union or the United States. Read MoreFor Finland, this proved more difficult, as it shared a massive border with an authoritarian superpower. To keep the peace, Finns adopted a process some call "Finlandization," in which leaders acceded to Soviet demands from time to time. JUST WATCHEDFmr. Finnish PM: 'Finlandization' not an answer for UkraineReplayMore Videos ...MUST WATCHFmr. Finnish PM: 'Finlandization' not an answer for Ukraine 10:01 Both countries' balancing acts effectively ended with...
    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced opposition on Friday to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, insisting the countries were supportive of Kurdish "terrorist organizations." While Erdogan did not explicitly commit to blocking the Nordic countries' bid to join the powerful alliance, an objection from Turkey could derail their accession because NATO makes its decisions by consensus. In response, U.S. officials have been scrambling to get clarification from Turkey. RUSSIAN MEDIA PRESENT ‘ALTERNATE UNIVERSE’ COVERAGE OF WAR IN UKRAINE: DIPLOMAT "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion," Erdogan said, per the Associated Press. "Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations. ... They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favor." Finland announced its intent to join the alliance on Thursday, and Sweden is expected to do the same within the coming days. Both countries refrained from joining NATO for decades, but Russia's war in Ukraine has seemingly prompted the two nations to rethink their reluctance to...
    Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021.Yves Herman | Reuters Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thrown Sweden and Finland's potential NATO membership into doubt, just as both countries are on the cusp of applying to join the alliance in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don't hold positive views," Erdogan told press in Istanbul on Friday. NATO ascension for a new member state requires consensus approval from all existing members. Turkey joined NATO in 1952, and has the second-largest military in the 30-member alliance after the United States. Erdogan referenced the Nordic countries' hosting of members of the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, which Turkey considers a terrorist group. The countries are "home to many terrorist organizations," Erdogan claimed. He also referenced NATO's acceptance of Greece as a member in 1952 as a mistake. Turkey and Greece are longtime rivals and have fought in conflicts against one another even as NATO members....
    ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is ‘not favorable’ to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Finland’s leaders Thursday came out in favor of applying to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within days, in a historic realignment on the continent 2 1/2 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent a shiver of fear through Moscow’s neighbors. The Kremlin reacted by warning it will be forced to take retaliatory “military-technical” steps. On the ground, meanwhile, Russian forces pounded areas in central, northern and eastern Ukraine, including the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol, as part its offensive to take the industrial Donbas region, while Ukraine recaptured some towns and villages in the northeast. The first war-crimes trial of a Russian soldier since the start of the conflict is set to open Friday in Kyiv. A 21-year-old captured member of a tank unit is accused of shooting to death a civilian on a bicycle during the opening week of the war. Finland’s president and prime minister announced that the Nordic country should apply right away for membership in NATO, the military defense pact founded in...
    By Lorne Cook | Associated Press BRUSSELS — It’s likely to be the quickest NATO enlargement ever and one that would redraw Europe’s security map. Finnish leaders announced Thursday their belief that Finland should join the world’s biggest military organization because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Sweden could soon follow suit. Should they apply for membership, the move would have far-reaching ramifications for Northern Europe and trans-Atlantic security. No doubt, it will also anger their large neighbor Russia, which blames, at least in part, its war in Ukraine on NATO’s continued expansion closer to its borders. It’s unclear how Russian President Vladimir Putin might retaliate. The Kremlin said Thursday that it certainly won’t improve European security. The following is a brief look at what Finland and Sweden’s membership in the 30-country NATO alliance could mean, with the Nordic partners expected to announce their intention to join within days. FINLAND AND SWEDEN Not neutral like Switzerland, Finland and Sweden traditionally think of themselves as militarily “nonaligned.” But Russia’s war in Ukraine and Putin’s apparent desire to establish a Moscow-centered “sphere of...
    By OLEKSANDR STASHEVSKYI KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Finland’s leaders Thursday came out in favor of applying to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within days, in a historic realignment on the continent 2 1/2 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent a shiver of fear through Moscow’s neighbors. The Kremlin reacted by warning it will be forced to take retaliatory “military-technical” steps. On the ground, meanwhile, Russian forces pounded areas in central and eastern Ukraine, including the last pocket of resistance in Mariupol, as part its offensive to take the vital industrial Donbas region, while Ukraine recaptured some towns and villages in the country’s northeast. Finland’s president and prime minister announced that the Nordic country should apply right away for membership in NATO, the military defense pact founded in part to counter the Soviet Union. “You (Russia) caused this. Look in the mirror,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said this week. While the country’s Parliament still has to weigh in, the announcement means Finland is all but certain to apply — and gain admission — though...
    Russia’s foreign ministry issued a stark warning to Finland that Moscow will “be forced” to take retaliatory actions if the Northern European country joins NATO. The threat from Russia came hours after Finland’s leaders announced their support of the country’s application for NATO membership. UKRAINE COULD 'DEFINITELY WIN' DEPENDING ON HOW VICTORY IS DEFINED, EXPERTS SAY “The statement by Finnish President S. Niinistö and Finnish Prime Minister S. Marin, who spoke today in favor of Finland joining NATO, is a radical change in the country's foreign policy," the Russian foreign ministry said, according to CNN, adding that "Helsinki must be aware of the responsibility and consequences of such a move." "Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security that arise in this regard," it said. "Joining NATO will also be a direct violation of Finland's international legal obligations, primarily the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 and the 1992 Treaty between Russia and Finland on the fundamentals of relations.” Finland, which shares a roughly...
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