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Finland, Sweden Considering Joining NATO Due to Imaginary 'Russian Threat'

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NATO headquarters in Brussels - Sputnik International
Finland and Sweden are now reversing their stance on NATO membership as both countries are engulfed with hysteria over the imaginary threat of a "Russian invasion".

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, left, shakes hand with his Polish counterpart Ewa Kopacz in Kopacz’s office in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, March 16, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Recently, Finland and Sweden have repeatedly voiced the need to stand up to imaginary Russian aggression. Despite the fact that Russia has never had an interest in "invading Scandinavia", Finland and Sweden are leaning toward the idea of joining NATO.

In Sweden, the previously NATO-skeptic Social Democratic Party may be reversing its stance on the country’s membership in the alliance, stating that Sweden could join NATO if neighboring Finland is also in, according to an article in Stratfor.

The issue has come up regularly in both countries, the article read. However, they have postponed joining the alliance for quite some time, and public opinion regarding accession is currently unfavorable.

As for now, Sweden is already in the Partnership for Peace program with NATO and participates in NATO drills, but it is not fully integrated and carries no obligations toward NATO members.

"In a strict military sense, Sweden and Finland would gain some capacity and extra diplomatic cover by joining NATO, but ultimately the military balance between NATO and Russia would not necessarily be altered," it read.

The biggest change would be the political signal that NATO, Finland and Sweden would be sending, according to Stratfor. Even without taking actual steps to join the alliance, both countries are now trying to show their solidarity against Russia.

Russia in turn is concerned by the situation and has made it clear it would respond to a Swedish attempt to join NATO.

"It is clear that Sweden joining NATO would have military-political and foreign policy implications that would require reciprocal steps from the Russian side," the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week.

However, Moscow is more concerned about Finland’s membership, according to the article.

"This [Finland’s admission] would put yet another NATO member just a stone's throw from St. Petersburg and would surround Russia's position on the Baltic Sea with NATO members. Finland is much more hesitant to join, knowing Russia would likely react not only militarily but also with trade restrictions," it read.

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Taking into account the fact that the NATO admission process is usually lengthy, for Finland and Sweden it may be speeded up if the two countries can prove their interest and dedication, Stratfor presumed.

"From a NATO perspective, having Sweden and Finland in the alliance would be greatly beneficial; they would bolster Europe's northern area against Russian missiles and aircraft flyovers. In addition, the fact that both are already members of the European Union should allay any fears the existing members might have about them joining the alliance," according to it.

Actually, both countries are already aligned with NATO on a military level and building up military integration with the Alliance, the article read. This is why debates on NATO admission are more of a political gesture in the face of the mythical Russian threat.

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