What you need to know about Finland, Sweden and NATO

CNN —Finland is on the cusp of joining NATO while Sweden is on the verge of following suit.
Why haven’t Finland and Sweden already joined NATO?
While other Nordic countries like Norway, Denmark and Iceland were original members of the alliance, Sweden and Finland did not join the pact for historic and geopolitical reasons.
They joined the European Union together in 1995 and gradually aligned their defense policies with the West, while still avoiding joining NATO outright.
Finland and Sweden have enjoyed a close partnership for decades, with Stockholm viewing its decision to refrain from joining NATO as a way to help keep the heat off Helsinki.
He said that joining the alliance would likely mean more joint military training and planning between Finland, Sweden and NATO’s 30 current members.
Why the war in Ukraine changed everythingRussia’s invasion of Ukraine was the final straw that pushed Sweden and Finland to pull the trigger on NATO membership.
“People’s mindset in Finland, also in Sweden changed and shifted very dramatically.”Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, public support for joining NATO in Finland has leaped from around 30% to nearly 80% in some polls.
“Finland and Sweden would not have joined without this attack.”Officials in both Sweden and Finland have also expressed frustration that, in the lead-up to the war in Ukraine, Russia attempted to demand security guarantees from NATO that the alliance stop expanding eastward.
As two thriving liberal democracies, Sweden and Finland fulfill the requirements for entry to NATO – although Turkey, for one, could make the process more difficult for the aspiring members.
Not only would this be bad news for the Kremlin, but the addition of Finland and Sweden would benefit the alliance.
“The fact that Finland and Sweden are part of the West doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Bildt.