Hungary’s parliament on Monday voted to ratify Finland’s NATO membership, bringing the alliance one step closer to significantly expanding on Russia’s border.
Hungary’s National Assembly approved Finland’s NATO bid in a vote of 182 to 6. Finland has already amended its laws to join NATO and now only needs the approval of Turkey’s parliament.
A Turkish parliamentary committee approved a bill to ratify Finland’s membership last week, and a full parliament vote is expected to take place before Turkey’s May 14 presidential elections.
When initially applying for NATO membership, Finland said it would only join with Sweden. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Sweden hasn’t done enough to join the alliance, and Finnish officials abandoned their previous position on pursuing membership with Stockholm.
Hungary is also pushing back its ratification of Sweden’s membership. An aide to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last week that the Swedish government’s criticism of the Orban government would delay the decision on Stockholm’s NATO bid.
Helsinki joining NATO will significantly raise tensions with Moscow as Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia. The region is now set to be further militarized as Russia’s military plans to expand its presence in western Russia in response to Finland joining the alliance.