NATO could allow Finland and Sweden to join the alliance quickly, says Jens Stoltenberg – National

Finland and Sweden will be able to join NATO quickly if they decide to apply for membership in the Western military alliance, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

“If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be very welcome and I hope the process will move quickly,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, adding that he planned to speak with the Finnish president later that day.

He said he was sure arrangements could be found for the interim period between a request from the two Scandinavian countries and formal ratification in the parliaments of the 30 NATO members.

“I’m sure there are ways to get through that interim period in a way that is good enough and works for both Finland and Sweden,” Stoltenberg said.

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Russia, with which Finland shares a 1,300-kilometre border, has said it will deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad if Finland and Sweden decide to join NATO.

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