Baltic nations would welcome Ukraine’s accession to NATO

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Foreign ministers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said they would welcome Ukraine’s accession to NATO “as soon as possible” after the country formerly applied to join the alliance on Friday.

All three countries have pushed for Ukraine to join both NATO and the EU in the past. The Baltics joined the alliance in 2004.

On Friday evening, the Ukrainian government announced it had officially applied to join NATO under an “expedited procedure”.

“We trust each other, we help each other and we protect each other. This is what the Alliance is. De facto. Today, Ukraine is applying to make it de jure,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a video address. 

The announcement came hours after Russia annexed four regions in eastern Ukraine.

Finland, Sweden NATO accession not likely till next summer

Meanwhile, the Estonian Public Broadcasting, ERR, reported that Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO is likely not to happen this year, due primarily to Turkey, which holds elections next June, not being ready to ratify their application.

The accession may not take place until next summer, at least a year after both countries formally applied for membership, ERR’s Europe correspondent Joosep Varik reports.

Amanda Paul, an analyst think tank at the European Policy Center (EPC) who specializes in Turkey, said the Turkish parliament was not expected to make a decision before next summer, by which time, both presidential and parliamentary elections should have taken place there.

Both Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO in May, following weeks of speculation on their position in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, starting February 24.

The NATO Madrid Summit held at the end of June saw Turkey ostensibly back down on the issue, while Estonia ratified Finland and Sweden’s applications less than a week later.

Read more via ERR

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