OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is "very supportive" of Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Each of the countries has expressed an interest in becoming part of the defensive military alliance since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.
Finland's parliament could make a decision in late May, with Sweden following in the weeks after, ahead of NATO’s June 29-30 summit in Madrid, Spain.
Russia has warned them against joining, with officials saying it would not contribute to stability in Europe, and that Russia would respond with retaliatory measures that would cause “military and political consequences” for Helsinki and Stockholm.
President Vladimir Putin has said Ukraine's refusal to promise not to join NATO is part of the reason for the invasion.
Finland shares the European Union’s longest border with Russia, a 1,340-kilometre frontier.
Last week the Finnish government issued a security report to lawmakers addressing the pros and cons of possible membership, focusing on supply threats, economic effects, cybersecurity and hybrid threats.
Sweden’s ruling party has initiated a review of security policy options with a final report due May 31.
Canada, under the leadership of former prime minister Stephen Harper, was supportive of Ukraine's entry into the NATO alliance at its 2008 summit, but that bid was blocked.
In early April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called out the former leaders of Germany and France — Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy — for preventing his country from joining.
Membership could have protected Ukraine from future Russian attacks under the alliance's Article 5 collective defence guarantee.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2022.
— With files from The Associated Press
The Canadian Press