RIGA - The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO would have a positive impact on the security situation in the entire Baltic Sea region, including Latvia, Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (For Development) told Latvian Television.
He said that after talks with his Finnish and Swedish colleagues, there was reason to believe that the two countries would join NATO in the near future.
The Minister also pointed out that Sweden's accession to NATO and further cooperation with this country would give strategic depth to Latvia's defense.
The AFP news agency reports that Finland's prime minister said Wednesday the Nordic nation would decide whether to apply for NATO membership "within weeks".
Helsinki's parliament will next week open a debate about joining the Western alliance after the Ukraine war sparked a dramatic U-turn in public and political opinion in Finland and neighboring Sweden over long-held policies of military non-alignment.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Finland would now decide quickly on whether to apply for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"I think it will happen quite fast. Within weeks, not within months," Marin told a Stockholm press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Sweden is also discussing NATO membership following Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine.