Sweden and Finland will apply for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) membership next month, this is even as Russia has threatened the two countries over the decision.
The governments of Sweden and Finland reached an agreement to apply at the same time.
Two newspapers, one Swedish, the other Finnish, confirmed the news.
Finnish newspaper Iltalehti said that the Swedish government has expressed a wish to Finland that they apply together in the week starting 22nd May and Swedish government sources confirmed the information to Sweden’s Expressen tabloid.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to growing support in Sweden and Finland for joining NATO.
Sweden first made its intention to apply for NATO membership on 13th April in a move that infuriated Moscow lawmakers.
Sources told Sweden’s SVD newspaper about the move on the same day that fellow neutral neighbour Finland started its debate on joining NATO after days of speculation it would do so.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is understood to be eager for the country to join the trans-Atlantic alliance by June, to the fury of Vladimir Putin who invaded Ukraine in part for its desire to join the pact.
Over the years, Finland, along with neighbouring Sweden, have historically avoided NATO membership, despite close alignment with the West, in an effort not to provoke Russia.
The Swedish application was previously expected to be submitted by the NATO meeting in Madrid on June 29-20, according to Swedish reports earlier this month, but the latest information reported in the Swedish and Finnish press suggests this date may be brought forward.
Finland is also hoping to start its application process ‘within weeks, not within months’, its prime minister Sanna Marin said on April 13.
This comes despite Moscow lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov warning it would mean ‘the destruction of the country’.