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Ukraine war live updates: Russia ‘under pressure’ after failed Donbas assault, says UK

Ukraine war live updates: Russia 'under pressure' after failed Donbas assault, says UK

Report greenlights Sweden’s NATO membership 

An official report has paved the way for Sweden to join NATO, after it drew favourable conclusions on the benefits of membership for the country. 

The 40-page strategic review, which was presented on Friday, highlighted several advantages of the Nordic country joining the defensive alliance. 

However, it stopped short of formally expressing a recommendation. 

Neighbouring Finland, which shares a 1,340 kilometres (830 miles) long border with Russia, is expected to formalise its NATO candidacy this week. 

“Sweden’s membership in NATO would raise the threshold (of triggering) of military conflicts and would thus have a deterrent effect in Northern Europe,” the report concluded. 

Although Moscow has said there will be “consequences” if Sweden and Finland were to enter NATO, the report dismissed an armed attack as very unlikely, although it did recognise the possibility of Russian “provocations” and “realisations.” 

The report added that outside of NATO Sweden currently has no “guarantees” of support in the event of Russian aggression. 

“Our opinion is that we would not suffer a conventional military attack in reaction to a possible candidacy for NATO,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said at a press conference.

But she stopped short of ruling out a military attack on the country, reiterating a government position.

Russia is strongly against a larger and expanded NATO on its borders, which it views as a threat to the country’s security.

The Russian leadership has previously warned that nuclear weapons will be deployed near Scandinavia and the Baltics, should Finland or Sweden decide to sign up. 

A formal decision on whether Sweden will join NATO is expected in the coming days. 

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