US expects Finland and Sweden to become NATO members soon
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed expectations that Finland and Sweden would soon become members of the North Atlantic Alliance.
He said this after the NATO ministerial meeting held on February 15 in Brussels, "Ukrinform" reports.
"I hope so," Austin said when asked by a reporter if he expected the two Scandinavian countries to join NATO at the alliance's summit this summer.
The US Secretary of Defense also emphasized that all his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic have the same feelings.
"When and how they (Sweden and Finland – ed.) will join the Alliance will depend on the leadership of these two countries, and I know that their leaders are eager to move forward, so we will see what happens," the head of the Pentagon said.
He also emphasized that these two countries have significant potential and will bring great benefits to the Alliance when they join.
Earlier that day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO allies were focused on ensuring that Ukraine receives the weapons, supplies, and ammunition it needs to oust the Russian invaders. At the same time, it is not the right time to discuss the issue of Ukrainian membership in the Alliance. The NATO Secretary General emphasized once again that Ukraine has the right to apply for membership, but the current top priority is military assistance.