Eastern Express 6.07

At NATO headquarters in Brussels, ambassadors of the Alliance countries signed Finland and Sweden’s accession protocols in the presence of Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. The two Nordic countries’ accession to NATO must be ratified by Alliance countries, in accordance with their internal ratification procedures before they are officially welcomed to NATO.

The main country still having doubts about the accession is Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Ankara would block the accession, if the two candidate countries fail to comply with Turkey’s demand for the extradition or deportation of suspected terrorists, including members of the Syrian Kurdish organisation.

Sweden, Finland and Turkey signed a trilateral protocol on the issue. The Turkish president stressed that Sweden and Finland’s failure to comply with the protocol could result in the Turkish parliament’s refusal to ratify the agreement.

Both Finland and Sweden decided to apply to join NATO in the aftermath of the Russian aggression on Ukraine. Helsinki and Stockholm saw Moscow’s unprovoked attack as a possible threat to their own security.

This episode also covered topics including Ukraine’s rebuilding process outlined in the Lugano Declaration, new sanctions against Belarus announced by the British government, a Jerusalem Post report on Isreal-Russian relations and new legislation approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament granting citizens who assisted in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine the same status as war veterans.

To talk about these issues Eastern Express invited Jan Piekło, the former Polish Ambassador to Ukraine.