Despite being one of Putin's stated reasons for launching the war against Ukraine, the expansion of NATO towards Russia's borders only looks likely to have been accelerated by his actions. Finland and Sweden, up to now firmly adhering to their long-standing policy of military non-alignment, are strongly considering a possible candidacy of their countries to the political-military alliance - motivated by the fear of a possible extension of the conflict and aggression from Russia. As our infographic based polling conducted in recent months shows, the invasion of Ukraine has shifted public opinion drastically in both Nordic nations.
Shortly before the conflict erupted, only 24 percent of Finns and 37 percent of Swedes supported their countries seeking NATO membership. In May 2022 though, a majority of the population now supports the idea of joining the Western military alliance. A dramatic increase has been observed in Finland especially, where 76 percent now say they would support their country's membership - something the Finnish foreign affairs minister has said could be applied for as early as this week, with the move expected to be mirrored by Sweden within days. The process to join would likely last a number of months.