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    Finland and Sweden apply for NATO membership

    Finland and Sweden today officially submitted their applications for membership in NATO.

    Accordingly, the two Governments have submitted their official applications and related formalities to the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.

    Stoltenberg accepted the applications from Finland and Sweden, calling it a “historic” opportunity, and said he “welcomes the requests of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.”

    “You are our closest partner and your membership in NATO will enhance the security of all of us,” Stoltenberg said.

    It usually takes about a year for countries that have applied for membership from NATO to become members. But given the current crisis in Europe, Western analysts say the process is likely to accelerate.

    Finland and Sweden have been able to stay out of the conflict during the Cold War and have worked closely with the rest of Europe.

    However, Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, and if Finland gains NATO membership, it will be a situation where NATO reaches the doorstep of Russia.

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