Finland is expected to announce on Thursday its intention to join NATO with Sweden likely to follow soon after, diplomats and officials say, Reuters reports.
NATO allies expect Finland and Sweden to be granted membership quickly, five diplomats and officials told Reuters, paving the way for increased troop presence in the Nordic region during the one-year ratification period.
In the wider Nordic region, Norway, Denmark and the three Baltic states are already NATO members, and the addition of Finland and Sweden would likely anger Moscow, which says NATO enlargement is a direct threat to its own security.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited the issue as a reason for his actions in Ukraine, which has also expressed a desire to eventually join the western alliance.
Moscow has repeatedly warned Finland and Sweden against joining NATO, threatening “serious military and political consequences.”