Brexit’s Farage Warns Finland and Sweden NATO Admission Is a ‘Mistake’

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has warned that it may be a mistake for NATO to accept the applications from the traditionally neutral Scandinavian countries of Finland and Sweden into the Western military alliance as it further builds the risk of the west being drawn into a hot war.

The parliament of Finland voted overwhelmingly to back the country’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Tuesday, with Finnish MPs backing the measure by a margin of 188 to 8. The move follows the Swedish government formally signing their application to join the military alliance.

Should NATO accept the applications, it would end the post-World War II neutrality of Finland and the over 200 years of military non-alliance from Sweden, as well as considerably extending the border between the Western alliance and the Russian Federation.

Speaking before the widely expected moves, Brexit leader Nigel Farage warned that it may be a “mistake” to “box in” Vladimir Putin in such a manner.

“I understand why [Sweden and Finland] might want to join NATO,” Farage said on his primetime GB News programme on Monday, but questioned: “Does it make sense for NATO to allow them in, are we in danger here of actually boxing Putin in as we expand and expand up to and including his borders?”

Mr Farage, noting that his opinion may not be popular in Westminster, urged for Western nations to offer Putin “some way out in order that we can start some peace negotiations”.

“I’ve been fairly critical of nato expansion over the years. I’ve always thought that it was provocative towards a Russian leader, who would use paranoia with his own people… I even predicted a war in Ukraine way back in 2014 in the European Parliament,” Mr Farage recalled.

Yet he denied that trying to prevent war, or indeed for calling for peace negotiations now, made him a “Putin supporter, as those on the left would scream,” explaining that he “deplores much of what has happened in Ukraine over the course of the last three months.”

Despite the devastation and loss of life in Ukraine and the economic havoc the war has wrought on world supply chains and as potential famines loom, there has been little appetite for peace in the halls of power in Washington, London, or Brussels and those who have attempted dialogue with Moscow, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, have been widely criticised for doing so.

According to Ukrainian media, the British government have been the biggest roadblocks against any peace negotiations with Russia, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson allegedly telling President Volodymyr Zelensky in his visit to Kyiv last month that the West would not back any peace talks with Putin on the assumption that Russia’s military can be defeated.

Quoting a close associate to President Zelensky, Ukrayinska Pravda reported: “Johnson brought two simple messages to Kyiv: Putin is a war criminal, he should be persecuted, not negotiated with. And secondly, if you are ready to sign some guarantee agreements with him, we are not.”

The Johnson administration has also pledged the lives of British soldiers to protect both Sweden and Finland should they be attacked by Russia during the interim period in which their NATO applications are considered by the national parliaments of the alliance’s member states.

Putin has warned of potential reprisals if a military build-up occurs on the border with Russia in the two countries.

While there has been broad support for the acceptance of the Scandinavian countries into NATO, there are still other potential roadblocks that could derail the process. The main opposition so far has come from Turkey, which was admitted into the alliance in the expansion of 1952.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his government would not back any country entering NATO that had imposed sanctions on Turkey, referencing the 2019 arms sale ban from Sweden over Turkish military actions in Syria.

The two countries have also given refuge to members of the Kurdish separatist group PKK, which Turkey has classified as a terror organisation, prompting characterise Sweden as a “festering ground” for terrorism, and therefore unworthy of NATO membership. As new entries into the alliance are required to gain the approval of all 30 national parliaments in the alliance, an objection from Turkey would be enough to prevent Sweden and Finland from joining.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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