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Why Finland, Sweden joining NATO will be big deal

BRUSSELS — It’s likely to be the quickest NATO enlargement ever and one that would redraw Europe’s security map. Finnish leaders announced Thursday their belief that Finland should join the world’s biggest military organization because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Sweden could soon follow suit.

Should they apply for membership, the move would have far-reaching ramifications for Northern Europe and trans-Atlantic security.

No doubt, it will also anger their large neighbor Russia, which blames, at least in part, its war in Ukraine on NATO’s continued expansion closer to its borders. It’s unclear how Russian President Vladimir Putin might retaliate. The Kremlin said Thursday that it certainly won’t improve European security.

The following is a brief look at what Finland and Sweden’s membership in the 30-country NATO alliance could mean, with the Nordic partners expected to announce their intention to join within days.

FINLAND AND SWEDEN

Not neutral like

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