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NATO towards enlargement, why right now?

NATO towards enlargement, why right now?

Sweden and Finland are both joining NATO, a monumental change for two countries with a long history of wartime neutrality. During a NATO summit in Madrid, they overcame what is likely to be the ultimate obstacle, opposition from Turkey. But why now?


For many Finns, the events in Ukraine bring a sense of familiarity. The Soviets invaded Finland in late 1939. For more than three months the Finnish army put up fierce resistance, despite being much larger in number. They avoided invasion but ended up losing 10% of their territory.

Watching the war unfold in Ukraine was like reliving this story, said Iro Sarkka, a political scientist at the University of Helsinki. The Finns were looking at their 1,340 km (830 mile) border with Russia, she said, and thought, "Could this happen to us?"


Sweden has also felt threatened in recent years, with several reported airspace violations by Russian military aircraft. In 2014, the Swedes were shocked by reports that a Russian submarine was hiding in the shallow waters of the Stockholm archipelago.

Two years later the Swedish army returned to the small but strategically important island of the Baltic Sea, Gotland, after abandoning it for two decades.

Source: BBC

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