A NATO member Turkey has agreed to support Sweden and Finland’s membership in the alliance.
It initially opposed Nordic countries’ requests to join.
Turkey was outraged by what it saw as its determination to welcome Kurdish troops. Sweden and Finland could not join NATO without the support of Turkey.
Russia strongly opposes joining the two provinces and has used the expansion of the Western defense alliance as the reason for its war in Ukraine.
But the Moscow attack has had the opposite effect, and the way is clear for both countries to join Nato.
The foreign ministers of three countries have signed a joint security agreement addressing Turkey’s concerns.
Will Sweden and Finland move from neutrality to Nato?
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said Sweden had agreed to intensify its work on applications for the repatriation of Turkish nationals suspected of being terrorists.
The two Nordic states will also lift their arms embargoes in Turkey, he said.
Finnish President Niinisto said the three countries had signed a joint memorandum “to extend their full support for each other’s security threats”.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said it was “a very important step for Nato”.
The office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it had “received what it wanted” in Sweden and Finland.
The two Nordic states announced their intention to join Nato in May, in response to a Russian offensive in Ukraine.
Mr. Stoltenberg suggested that the process could go “very quickly” as they were already sharing close ties with the federation.
But that did not happen as a Nato member of Turkey accused both countries of protecting Kurdish troops and said they would not support their membership. Any Nato expansion must be approved by all 30 members.
Turkey has long accused Sweden of harboring what it calls the militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but Stockholm has denied it.
Both countries have now agreed on some of Turkey’s demands, and the military will face harassment under amendments to Swedish and Finnish law.
If Sweden and Finland become members, it will be the end of 200 years of Swedish disagreement. Finland embraced neutrality following a bitter defeat by the Soviet Union during World War II.
Finnish public support for joining Nato has been around 20-25%. But since Russia invaded Ukraine, it has risen to 79%, according to a recent opinion poll. In Sweden, 60% of people say it was okay to apply, and it is much higher than before the war.
Comparable champagne corks will emerge from Nato’s top positions tonight as a major stumbling block is removed to accommodate two major new members.
Finland and Sweden are already modern states, dependent on a democratic West with well-trained and well-armed soldiers accustomed to operating under conditions that are often challenging in the far North of Europe.
Their entry, when completed, will bring the number of Nato countries across the Baltic Sea border to eight, which will make them a Nato lake.
Two Russian stores, St Petersburg and Kaliningrad will be increasingly segregated, which only adds to the Kremlin crisis.
Finland and Sweden join Nato because Russia invaded Ukraine. The attack was aimed at pushing NATO ahead of Russia’s borders. On the contrary, it has achieved quite the opposite.