As at Wednesday, two more countries have indicated readiness to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), as Ukraine’s contentious application to be part of the security shield still debated.
NATO, a defence initiative in Western Europe powered by the United States, is seen by Russia as a stumbling block in the militarization of the bloc, and its domination of countries on the axis since the end of the Cold war era.
However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the latter’s growing military might and later decision to join the NATO initiation, has now compelled other countries in the region to scramble to join NATO, as uncertainty over their own security topped reasons for the new move.
Finland’s Prime Minister, Ms Sanna Mirella Marin, announced, Tuesday, that her country will make a decision within the next few weeks about applying to join NATO
Finland is kick-starting a debate now which may result in the country applying for NATO membership within weeks.
Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the latest polls in the country suggest there is now a majority in favour of joining.
Early Wednesday, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, said her country has decided to apply for NATO membership, after weeks of hesitation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Already, countries like Georgia and Moldova have received their questionnaires to join the European Union (EU) from the organisation’s Enlargement Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, an important moment at the start of a long entry process, on Monday.
The document was ‘the first step on your European path,’ Varhelyi told Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.
The document served as the basis for EU accession talks for applicants.
Moldova and Georgia applied for membership in the bloc after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ukraine had also applied for entry in view of the Russian invasion.
In a gesture of solidarity, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen personally delivered a questionnaire to Kiev, last Friday.
Fears over NATO expansion into eastern Europe is said to be at the centre of the Ukrainian invasion by Russia. However, with other countries now scrambling to join the union to safeguard their future from invasions, Russia’s foreign policy has been dealt a huge blow, in what could escalate further tensions in the region.
Meanwhile, US President, Joe Biden has accused Russian forces of committing acts of ‘genocide’ in Ukraine, adding further that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to ‘wipe out the idea’ of a Ukrainian identity.
President Biden has previously accused Putin of ‘war crimes.’
Biden insisted on Tuesday night that evidence of genocidal acts by Russian troops was mounting.
“More evidence is coming out of the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine,” the president said, adding: “And we’re going to only learn more and more about the devastation. We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”
He first made the comments as part of a throwaway remark during a speech in Iowa about increasing inflation, telling supporters in Iowa their ability to budget should not “hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has not held back from accusing Russia of genocide and “crimes against humanity” following the discovery of mass graves in the city of Bucha, said Mr Biden’s comments were “true words of a true leader”.
“Calling things by their names is essential to stand up to evil,” Mr Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
The White House posted a copy of Mr Biden’s comments online.
Genocide is widely seen as the most serious crime against humanity and is defined under international law as a mass extermination of a particular group of people.
While there is no legal consensus on whether Russia is guilty of the crime, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has described killings in the town of Bucha as ‘acts of genocide,’ even as last week, United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said the attacks do not ‘look far short of genocide.’