On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson walked through the implications of Finland and Sweden seeking to join NATO — and how Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine is leading to exactly the strengthening of NATO on his border that he was seeking to avoid.
"This would be a major addition to the NATO alliance," said anchor Wolf Blitzer.
"Finland is putting a document in front of its parliament beginning next week," said Robertson. "They will talk about it for several weeks. They will take a decision on it, and they could be at the NATO leaders' summit in Madrid in June, asking to join NATO. Sweden could be following along behind them."
"I was speaking to a Finnish diplomat in Brussels," continued Robertson. "He told me the lesson they were seeing here is it was being attacked. We will give you weapons but we won't send you troops. That was the turning point. Both making it very clear that Russia's invasion changed the equation — they see Putin as more aggressive and more dangerous, and they see the way that NATO operates, that an attack on one will draw support from the other nations, and that is what they think they need."
"This will be significant," Robertson added. "It will double the length of NATO's land border with Russia. The Finnish border is about 830 miles long with Russia. Finland has a well-developed, well-sophisticated armed force that is well-integrated already with NATO. But this is already drawing criticism from Russia. Putin's spokesman said this will not lead to greater stability in Europe. Expect pushback from Putin on this. It's exactly the opposite of what he wanted."
Nic Robertson on Finland's application for NATO membership www.youtube.com
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