False: Sweden has applied for NATO membership

By: Matthew Ross
April 21 2022

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False: Sweden has applied for NATO membership


The Verdict False

Sweden and Finland have not yet decided whether or not to join NATO.

Claim ID b3d20529

A post on social media claims that Sweden has applied for membership of NATO in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia has caused concern in nearby nations. The leaders of both Sweden and Finland have acknowledged that the invasion has spurred discussion toward potentially joining NATO. However, no decision has been made as of April 21, 2022, and no decision had been made on April 13, 2022, when the original claim was posted. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance of 30 nations formed after World War II. While neither Finland nor Sweden is a member of NATO, they have been partners since 1994, meaning they participate in training exercises and share intelligence. Article 5 of the NATO charter states that if any member nation of NATO is attacked, it is considered an attack on the entire alliance. Russia, which sees any enlargement of NATO on its borders as a threat, has issued thinly-veiled threats to Finland and Sweden that joining the alliance would be a provocative act. Dmitry Medvedev, former president of Russia, threatened Finland and Sweden more explicitly, with promises to increase Russian military presence in the Baltic region and disregard any previous talk of keeping the area clear of nuclear weapons. A recent survey conducted by Demoskop showed a majority (57 percent) of Swedes supported the idea of joining NATO for the first time. In comparison, another poll in Finland showed 68 percent in favor of joining. In both countries, debates and deliberations on whether or not to join are ongoing. As of April 21, 2022, neither Sweden nor Finland has formally applied for membership in NATO. However, one or both countries may decide to join NATO in the near future.

UPDATE: June 14, 2022

While it was false that Sweden and Finland had applied for NATO membership when this fact check was written, both of the nations applied for membership on May 18, 2022.

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