Austria, Salzburg-Finland and Sweden now need to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), but Putin of Russia is focusing on Ukraine, the former chief of the alliance told CNBC.
The Two Scandinavian countries are considering joining NATO In the wake of Russia’s provocative invasion of Ukraine.. Becoming a NATO member will represent a sharp U-turn in their policy towards the Kremlin after years of taking a neutral approach. Finland and Sweden will announce their plans in the coming days.
“As far as Finland and Sweden are concerned, I [the] Two countries are joining right now, as Putin is obsessed with other places. He can’t do anything about it. “
Russia has repeatedly stated that it opposes NATO enlargement, citing this as one of the reasons for its invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin also states that if Stockholm and Helsinki join the alliance, they need to “rebalance the situation.”
It is unclear how the Kremlin will react if the two countries proceed to join.
However, their accession will double the current border between NATO and Russia and add more military power to the alliance.
NATO Secretary-General Jason Stoltenberg has previously said he warmly welcomes both countries.
However, it could take “months” for membership to become official, Rasmussen told CNBC.
“Even if it’s considered an urgent procedure, it will take months because you have to go through 30 parliaments before it can be ratified by NATO as a whole,” he said. ..
NATO currently has 30 member countries, including the United States.
“It will take months, and during that period both Finland and Sweden can be exposed to Russian threats and even threats, and that is why they must guarantee their safety,” Rasmussen said. Said.
These security must come from individual NATO member states. The alliance’s famous Article 5 (which states that an attack on one NATO member country is an attack on all member countries) applies to Finland and Sweden for all 30 people to approve the application. Only if you do. NATO member countries.
Russia’s provocative invasion of Ukraine has changed Europe’s defense policy. Countries have announced more spending on military force, sent weapons to Ukraine, and in the case of Finland and Sweden, have brought more public support for NATO accession.
“You also need to understand Swedish and Finnish [potential] The decision was a message that there was no neutral country on the Russian border. And this is a new reality, and even during the Cold War, it wasn’t like this, “political analyst Ivan Krastev told CNBC on Friday.
“Before [Russia’s invasion of Ukraine] It was not clear what the difference was between being a NATO member and simply being a friend of the United States. Now, being a member of NATO means Article 5, and it’s very clear that being just a friend of the United States is not. And that’s why Finland and Sweden should move from friends to members, “he added.