Sweden and Finland will further strengthen their security cooperation in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the prime ministers of both countries said on Saturday, but they were non-committal on joining NATO.
“Russia’s war against a sovereign European country puts the ecu security order in danger . during this changing security environment, Finland and Sweden will further strengthen our cooperation,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters in Helsinki at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Sweden and Finland have strong historic ties and an in depth military cooperation, including joint drills and knowledge sharing.
The invasion, called a “special military operation” by Russia, has also forced a fast change in attitude towards NATO in both countries, which are currently outside the NATO-alliance.
Polls in recent days showed a majority for joining NATO in both countries for the primary time ever. Marin said it had been “understandable” that more people in both Sweden and Finland now want to hitch NATO.
“We are now having this discussion in Finland,” Marin said. “We will have these discussions within parliament, with the president, within the govt and between the parties.”
In Sweden, the governing Social Democrats have long resisted calls from the centre-right opposition to hitch NATO. Andersson said it had been natural that the discussion should come up again, but avoided questions on Sweden joining the military alliance.
“The security situation has been altered during a dramatic way,” Andersson said. “I have met the party leaders from the opposite Swedish parties several times within the last week and that we are discussing variety of issues,” she said.
The two countries have already got an in depth cooperation with NATO and are invited to all or any consultations on the Ukraine crisis. Secretary General Stoltenberg said in January they might join the alliance “very quickly” if they decided to use for membership.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto said on Friday the us and Nordic countries would “initiate a transparent process to intensify defense and security cooperation” after a gathering with U.S. President Biden that included a call to Magdalena Andersson.