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How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Pushed Finland and Sweden Toward NATO

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NATO Will Have to Take Risks to Solve Ukraine: Stavridis
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Despite their orientation toward the US and western Europe, Finland and Sweden since the Cold War had bet that their national security was best protected by staying out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They aimed to avoid disturbing the military balance in the Baltic Sea region and provoking Russia. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its demands to stop NATO expansion pushed both countries to seek entry into the alliance. 

Both countries conduct military exercises with NATO and share intelligence. They are part of the alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, which fosters cooperation, and, along with Ukraine, are among six so-called Enhanced Opportunity Partners that make “particularly significant contributions to NATO operations.” But they didn’t join the alliance earlier for historical reasons: