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Sweden will apply for NATO membership and Finland to decide in weeks

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (R) met Swedish leader Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm to discuss NATO /Picture courtesy Reuters/BBC

Finland will decide on whether to apply to join the 30-member Nato alliance within weeks. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said she saw no reason to delay the decision, at a joint news conference alongside Sweden's prime minister.

Moscow has warned Finland and Sweden against joining Nato in recent weeks.

Finland, along with neighbouring Sweden, has historically avoided NATO membership, despite close alignment with the West, in an effort not to provoke Russia. They are militarily non-aligned but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has prompted increasing public support to become members of the Western defensive alliance.

Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported on Wednesday that Ms Andersson was aiming to apply for membership in time for a Nato summit in late June.

Finland shares a 1,340km (830 miles) border with Russia, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stressed that Moscow would have to "rebalance the situation" with its measures if the Nato bid went ahead.

Ms Marin pointed out that Nato membership offered Finland the security guarantee of Article Five, whereby an attack on one member is viewed as an attack on all.

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