The consequences of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine could lead to an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Various media outlets report that Finland and Sweden are debating whether to pursue membership into NATO, an alliance of 30 countries — including world powers such as the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic.

The alliance was formed in 1949 to counter the geopolitical efforts of the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. 

And if Finland were to join the alliance, six NATO members would soon share direct border access with Russia, along with Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Lithuania, and Poland. (Sweden is nestled between Norway and Finland.) 

Ukraine isn’t a NATO member, but a number of alliance countries have supported the Ukrainian forces during their war with Russia, which began on Feb. 24. 

According to NATO statistics, the alliance currently shares 754 border miles with Russia; and if Finland joined the group, the defensive alliance would extend to 832 miles.

Last month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the NATO bloc attempted to reason with Moscow, prior to the first military conflict with Ukraine. 

Also, Stoltenberg said: “We prepared for the worst, but worked hard for the best. We made every effort to engage Russia in dialogue, but Moscow consistently turned us down and ultimately decided to cut diplomatic ties.”

Sweden and Finland might be in close proximity to Russia’s borders, but the countries have been relatively neutral in diplomatic affairs with Russia.

On Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin addressed their potential NATO membership in a joint press conference.

Marin expressed her optimism in Finland and Sweden sharing a consensus opinion about joining NATO, or remaining neutral.

“I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decision, but I think it will happen quite fast, within weeks not months,” said Marin.

Russia has responded to the Sweden-Finland NATO rumors in typically blunt fashion, with the Kremlin reportedly threatening to relocate nuclear weapons into the Baltic region.

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