Swedish media is announcing that the Scandinavian country has made the decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in a move that is sure to outrage Putin - and which could trigger serious repercussions after repeat threats from Moscow against both Finland and Sweden as they contemplate the move.
"Sweden's prime minister Magdalena Andersson is understood to be eager for the country to join the trans-Atlantic alliance by June," The Daily Mail reports Wednesday. "The application is expected to be submitted at the NATO meeting in Madrid on June 29-20, Swedish reports say."
Sweden's PM Magdalena Andersson (whose Social Democrats have traditionally opposed joining NATO) has made her mind up, reports @SvD, and resolves to submit a membership application at the alliance's landmark summit in Madrid in June:https://t.co/FaEc1rb7xj— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) April 13, 2022
"Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson's goal is for Sweden to join NATO in June this year, sources tell SvD. The information comes in parallel with Finland today presenting its new security policy analysis and the Swedish Social Democrats drawing up the plan to deal with the issue internally," Stockholm-based daily Svenska Dagbladet reports.
This marks a complete reversal of prior longstanding policy, alongside Finland, to remain neutral on the question of formal NATO membership.
At the same time Finland, seen as more significant from Russia's point of view given the over 800-mile shared border, will open serious domestic debate on the matter, also as it mulls seeking NATO membership by close of spring or summer. FT is reporting that a decision will come "within weeks" - based on statements out of Helsinki.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson met in Stockholm on Wednesday to hold high level consultations on the manner, given that the decision of each would likely have great impact on the other.
"What is happening in the discussion in 🇫🇮 is important for us to follow, therefor we need to have very close contacts," says 🇸🇪PM. "But we need a process in Sweden to think this through"— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) April 13, 2022
But asked about SvD report, she doesn't deny that the government's aim is now to join. pic.twitter.com/9ivNxDunmq
PM Andersson appeared to confirm the Swedish media reports saying the decision for joining NATO has been made.
Standing beside her counterpart, Marin said on the issue in the press conference, "There are different perspectives to apply (for) NATO membership or not to apply and we have to analyze these very carefully."
"But I think our process will be quite fast, it will happen in weeks," she added.
Germany's DW explains that the greater pressure remains on Finland, but that Sweden too has felt anxiety over the rapidly unfolding events in Ukraine:
Sweden does not share a border with Russia, but the strategic island of Gottland in the Baltic Sea could make Sweden vulnerable should a conflict erupt in the region.
Robert Dalsjo, the research director at the Swedish Defense Research Agency, said Swedes have realized "that they might find themselves in the same position as Ukraine: a lot of sympathy but no military help."
Finland's leader, meanwhile at the joint presser put the timeline for a final decision "before mid-summer" - and said the country would produce a major report on its new security policy in light of Russia's aggression in Ukraine this week. That will kick off intense discussion in Finland's parliament - all of which are seen as key steps in a path to NATO membership.