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Sweden Declares NATO Membership Bid Hours After Neighboring Finland

Sweden has formally decided to apply for NATO membership. The request to join the alliance marks a historic shift for the Scandinavian state.

The big news in Europe Sunday (May 15) was the president of Finland Sauli Niinisto along with Prime Minister Sanna Marin formally announcing the country is applying to NATO.

Niinisto had also phoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who reportedly took the news “calmly” according to Helsinki’s description of the phone call. Putin only warned that it “could have a negative effect on Russia-Finland relations”—despite foreign ministry officials days ago issuing specific threats of “military and technical” retaliation.

On the same day a mere hours later, and as fully expected based on prior statements, Sweden’s ruling party formally affirmed Stockholm’s simultaneous application to NATO.

“Sweden’s ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday said it was in favor of joining NATO, reversing its decades-long opposition and paving the way for the country to submit a membership application,” AFP reported.

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