Sweden is now set to decide on its NATO stance on Sunday, May 15, in a meeting of the governing Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
US President Joe Biden has held a joint call on Friday with Andersson and Finland president Sauli Niinisto to “underscore his support for NATO’s Open Door policy”.
Washington says both Finland and Sweden have the ‘right’ to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements vis-a-vis NATO matters.
Finland President Sauli Niinisto told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border and history with Russia “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”.
Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finland head of state told Putin in a phone conversation how thoroughly Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia is against Finland and Sweden seeking membership in NATO, the 30-member Western military alliance.
In fact, the Ukraine conflict was also sparked off by its decision to join NATO – something Russia did not approve of.
The continuation of the NATO alliance politics was itself a remnant of the cold war.
With the eastward expansion of the NATO alliance from the late 1990s,
bringing in some 15 countries into it, Putin clearly saw the flashes of cold war continuing.
In 2004, street protests, popularly known as orange protests, took place in Ukraine.
Russia suspected the West was engineering pro-West democracy elements at its door.