Nato map shows which countries are in the Western alliance

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·3 min read
Nato currently has 30 member countries but is expanding with the additions of Finland and Sweden. (Yahoo News UK)
Nato currently has 30 member countries but is expanding with the additions of Finland and Sweden. (Yahoo News UK)

Sweden and Finland are on the cusp of joining Nato after the alliance formally invited them to join.

Further steps such as domestic ratification will now be taken to make the two nations' position official.

It comes after Turkey's president Erdogan confirmed his country was officially lifting its objections against the countries' membership ahead of a gathering of Nato members in the Spanish capital Madrid.

At the summit, the alliance agreed a “fundamental shift” which will see it return to Cold War-style readiness to respond to the increased threat posed by Russia.

The move to join Nato marks a major change in foreign policy from Finland and Sweden following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: NATO Expansion Moves Ahead With Finland, Sweden Agreement

RETRANSMITTING ADDING LEFT TO RIGHT (Back row, left to right) Latvia's President Egils Levits, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Montenegro's President Milo Dukanovic,, Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, North Macedonia's President Stevo Pendarovski, Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, Poland's President Andrzej Duda, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, and Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis; (centre row, left to right) Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and (front row, left to right) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President joe Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Slovenia Robert Golob, and Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, posing for the family photo during the Nato summit in Madrid, Spain. Picture date: Wednesday June 29, 2022.
Nato leaders pictured during a summit in Madrid. (PA)

What is Nato?

Nato, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to give it its full title, is a multi-nation military alliance set up in 1949 in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Currently made up of 30 countries, it was designed to bring peace by guaranteeing the security of its members through military and political means.

The alliance between countries from Europe and North America gives the two continents a link which enables them to consult and cooperate in the field of defence and security.

One of the key principles and cornerstones of the alliance is Article 5, which states an attack on one member state constitutes an attack on all member states.

Article 5 has only been invoked once — in 2001 following the Twin Towers attacks in New York on 11 September.

Why are Sweden and Finland joining Nato?

Finland had been officially neutral since signing a pact with Russia in 1948, agreeing to never join a military alliance hostile to Russia, or allowing its territory to be in an attack against Russia.

Sweden has not been at war since the Napoleonic era and has built its security policy on "non-participation in military alliances".

For both countries, the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation", has forced a radical rethink.

The two nations are vulnerable due to being geographically close to Russia, with Finland sharing an 830-mile land border.

Their acceptance into Nato is likely to infuriate Vladimir Putin, who has spent decades viewing Nato as a threat.

Moscow has been clear that it opposes any chance for the alliance to get larger.

Last month, Putin said he would have "no problem" with the two nations joining — in a break away from previous rhetoric surrounding the topic — but warned an "expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response."

Watch: Nato Secretary-General announced 'new strategic concept' at Madrid summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting on the sidelines of the Caspian Sea littoral states summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Wednesday, June 29, 2022. (Grigory Sysoyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian president Vladimir Putin attends a meeting on the sidelines of the Caspian Sea littoral states summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Nato countries have been supplying weapons to Ukraine to defend itself, including next generation light anti-tank weapons (NLAWs) — shoulder-mounted guided missiles which have proven to be useful against tanks.

More than 700 Switchblade drones — small enough to be carried in a backpack — and 121 Ghost drones have also been provided.

Ukrainian State Emergency Service firefighters work to take away debris at a shopping center burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
For Finland and Sweden, the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a 'special military operation', has forced a radical rethink. (AP)
Ukrainian State Emergency Service firefighters work to take away debris at a shopping center burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian State Emergency Service firefighters work to take away debris at a shopping center burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk. (AP)

Which countries are in Nato?

At the time of its creation, there were 12 founding members:

  • Belgium

  • Canada

  • Denmark

  • France

  • Iceland

  • Italy

  • Luxembourg

  • The Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Portugal

  • United Kingdom

  • United States

Since then a further 18 have joined, with Sweden and Finland soon to be added to the list:

  • Greece

  • Turkey

  • Germany

  • Spain

  • the Czech Republic

  • Hungary

  • Poland

  • Bulgaria

  • Estonia

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Romania

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Albania

  • Croatia

  • Montenegro

  • North Macedonia