FACT CHECK: Have Finland And Sweden Applied For NATO Membership?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

UPDATE: Sweden and Finland formally applied for NATO membership May 18, according to The Washington Post. This article was focused on a viral post that alleged the two countries had applied in April. 

A post shared on Facebook claims Finland and Sweden have officially applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Verdict: Misleading

While Sweden and Finland have expressed interest in joining the partnership, there is no evidence either country has applied for membership.

Fact Check:

NATO, a military alliance made up of 28 European countries along with the U.S. and Canada, condemned Russia’s recent invasion of neighboring Ukraine “in the strongest possible terms” while calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the war “immediately,” according to an April 8 statement.

A post shared on Facebook claims the alliance may soon expand. “Guys bad news world 3 is inevitable,” reads the post. “Sweden & Finland have applied for NATO membership. Russia already had warned Sweden and Finland. Now Russia planning to attack these two countries.”

This claim is misleading. While both Finland and Sweden are actively considering applying for NATO membership, according to BBC News, there is no evidence to suggest either has done so. Neither the Finnish government, the Swedish government nor NATO itself has issued a press release about either country applying to the alliance. There are likewise no credible news reports about either country applying for membership.

“There is a debate in both Sweden and Finland about possible NATO membership, but neither country has yet submitted a formal application,” a NATO spokesperson told Check Your Fact via email. (RELATED: Is Finland Introducing 4-Day Work Weeks And 6-Hour Work Days?)

Russia has warned that if either country joined NATO it would deploy nuclear and hypersonic missiles in the Baltic region near both countries, according to Reuters. The Kremlin has repeatedly called for NATO to cease expanding. Despite this, the Center for Strategic and International Studies speculates that both Sweden and Finland could apply for membership as early as June.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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