Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has said that Finland will likely decide on joining Nato within weeks.
"I won't give any kind of timetable [for] when we will make our decisions. But I think it will happen quite fast. Within weeks, not within months," Marin stated at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm on Wednesday.
The ministers met to discuss the security situation in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Marin stressed that it was important for Finland's MPs to reach a wide consensus on the issue of joining Nato, pointing out there are risks involved in applying as well as not applying for membership.
Several analysts expect both Finland and Sweden to apply for Nato membership in time for an upcoming summit in Madrid in June.
Sign up for our weekly email here to get a selection of the week's top stories in your inbox every Thursday.
"Everything changed" after Russian attack
When asked why the countries, which have remained non-aligned thus far, are moving forward with the process so quickly, Marin responded, "Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine. I think people's mindsets in Finland, also in Sweden, changed and shifted very dramatically because of Russia's actions and this is very clear."
According to the prime minister, Russia's onslaught in Ukraine has triggered the need for Finland to rethink its security strategy.
"This is a very important time in history. There is a before and after 24 February. The security landscape has completely changed," Swedish PM Andersson added.
Finland is currently a partner to Nato, and is subsequently not covered under Article 5, which proposes that an attack against one member is considered an attack against all.
"There is no other way to have security guarantees than under Nato's deterrence and common defence as guaranteed by Nato's Article 5," Marin noted.
On Wednesday, the Finnish government submitted a report to Parliament on how the foreign and security policy environment has changed in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
While the report does not take a direct position on Nato membership, it will form the basis of parliamentary debate on the issue in upcoming weeks.
According to Marin, the paper presents Nato not just as a military alliance, but as a political alliance.
Finland, Sweden could head in different directions
Both Marin and Andersson emphasised that while Finland and Sweden have enhanced defence cooperation and recognise the need to maintain a dialogue, each country will decide whether to apply for Nato membership independently.
This means that Finland and Sweden could make different decisions or could have completely different timetables with regard to Nato membership.
Sweden's parliament is expected to receive its security report by the end of May. However, Andersson noted that the analysis could be completed before that.
"We have to really think through what is best for Sweden, our security and our peace in this new situation," she stated.
"Both our countries understand that our choices on security affect not only our countries, but the whole Nordic region," Marin added.