The EU is ready to defend Finland and Sweden in the event of a Russian attack, even as it waits to join NATO, according to the bloc's foreign policy chief.
Josep Borrell welcomed the final decision of the two Nordic countries to apply for NATO membership during a meeting of Europe's defence ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.
When asked whether Article 42.7 of the EU Treaties would be triggered in the event of an attack on Finland and Sweden, Borrell was explicit.
"If a state is attacked in its territory, if there is an armed attack against a member state of the European Union, this state can ask others to help it. And the others are obliged to do so with all its means. No more no less," the High Representative told reporters on Tuesday.
Article 42.7 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty is the so-called solidarity clause, which says that if a member state is the victim of armed aggression against its territory, the other members of the bloc have "an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power" towards it.
The UK also offered security guarantees to what could be NATO’s newest members last week.
But how real is the risk of Russia attacking these two countries?
For Fabrice Pothier a political analyst at Rasmussen Global, Putin is not too concerned by it, for now.
"Clearly, Moscow has taken a pretty mild approach to the thing. I mean, they have obviously said they were unhappy about it," Pothier told Euronews.
"They had threatened to take some military-technical measures, but the bottom line is they have accepted the political decision. What they will not accept, and I think Putin is trying to draw a red line here, is any kind of NATO capability of forces being deployed on their territory·," he said.
The EU also says it will provide another €500 million in financial support to Ukraine’s military, bringing the total value of the bloc’s overall military funds for the country to €2 billion.
The money is being provided via the European Peace Facility and allows Ukraine to procure weapons and equipment for its ongoing fight against Russia’s invasion.