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Finland and Sweden no longer NATO-neutral

Staff writer |
NATO membership will be the next logical step for Finland and Sweden following their signing of a Host Nation Support Memorandum of Understanding with NATO, says the chair of the Russian Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee.

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According to the head of the Duma's foreign affairs committee, Finland's and Sweden's participation in the NATO agreement would mean giving up their neutrality.

"Joining the military union would be the natural next step," Aleksey Pushkov said in an interview with the paper Izvestia, Itar-Tass reported.

Finland, Sweden and NATO will sign the Host Nation agreement at a NATO summit to be held next week. Finland's political leadership has hastened to point out that the agreement would not create any binding commitments on signatories or take Finland any closer to full NATO membership.

The government announced its intention to sign the treaty and described the Host Nation agreement as a common international concept to be adapted in situations where countries welcome external assistance or resources on their territory.

In these situations the parties must agree on concrete procedures and practices for action. The government said such a need could arise in cases of natural disasters or other emergencies or security threats.

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