COUNTRIES without nuclear weapons are being considered for fast-tracked Nato membership in an encouraging move for Yessers who back Scotland joining the alliance post-independence.

Both Sweden and Finland – neither of which possess weapons of mass destruction – will be granted quicker access to the military alliance after recent announcements they would seek to join Nato in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg (below, right) has said.

The National:

It comes as a blow to opponents of the SNP’s position that ditching Trident and joining Nato after leaving the UK are not mutually exclusive.

The party changed its position on the military alliance in 2012, prompting two MSPs to quit the SNP.

READ MORE: Sweden to end neutrality as it applies for Nato membership

John Finnie joined the Scottish Greens after the move and warned before the policy was adopted: “You vote to join Nato, you will not get rid of Trident.”

While an independent Scotland would be in a different position to Finland and Sweden in joining after ditching nuclear weapons, rather than joining Nato without them, accepting the Nordic countries without weapons of mass destruction was “good background music” for the SNP, said the party’s defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald (below).

The National:

He told The National that it would be possible for Scotland to join the alliance after independence but the country would need to have a “unique” defence offering of its own to justify its acceptance into the alliance.

Marc de Vore, professor of international relations at St Andrew’s University, said Sweden and Finland joining Nato would make the organisation more “amenable” to Scotland joining the alliance post-independence.

He said the argument that getting rid of the UK’s nuclear weapons from an independent Scotland would bar the country from Nato “does not hold water”.

“Most Nato states don’t have nuclear weapons and don’t have nuclear weapons on their territory,” he said.

“So there is absolutely no connection between nuclear weapon possession and Nato membership.

“Scotland could obviously get rid of its nuclear weapons and join Nato.”

Because new members of the alliance must be approved unanimously, an independence Scotland faces the threat of a vindictive rUK withholding approval to leverage the maintenance of a Scottish nuclear base.

But de Vore said this would be untenable because of the strategic location of Scotland.

He added: “Britain would not be in a position to force an independent Scotland to keep Faslane open.

READ MORE: We have Putin to thank for Nato’s impending Nordic enlargement - David Pratt

“[The UK] and Nato need Scottish conventional cooperation. For Russian submarines or warships to make it to the Atlantic, they basically have to sail north of Scotland.

“The air and naval space north of Scotland is really strategic and an independent Scotland that had Irish-style neutrality would make it impossible for Nato to patrol that gap.

The National:

“Britain and Nato would greatly benefit from Scotland as a member.”

McDonald said: “There are definitely lessons to be learned from Sweden and Finland but we’re in a different position.

“It is good for us because it makes the argument smoother.

“As background music, if I can call it that, it’s good for us but I think there is more for us to take from this rather than just the issue of nuclear.”

McDonald added that differences between Scotland and rUK post-independence could easily be accommodated within the alliance.  

He said: “Nato is perfectly good at getting on with the job and managing inter-state tensions where they arise.

“It’s not to say it’s all honey and marmalade, you’re talking about nuclear weapons at the end of the day, but Nato is used to handling difference and it’s used to handling political tensions.”

McDonald’s comments come amid a reignited row in Scotland over the alliance as the SNP’s governing partners in Holyrood reaffirmed their opposition to Nato.

READ MORE: SNP delegation visits NATO HQ in Brussels for 'productive' meetings

In an interview with the Daily Record, party co-leader Patrick Harvie said he wanted an independent Scotland to “work in a cooperative way with our neighbours” but did not wish to see it joining the alliance.

His comments were branded “extreme” by Scottish Labour’s external affairs spokesperson Sarah Boyack who demanded the SNP distance themselves from the remakrs.

She added: “The Greens’ decision to double down on their anti-Nato position at this moment in time exposes a reckless disregard for Scotland’s national security.”

Finland is currently the only country non-Nato country to share a land border with Russia in the European Union.

Sweden’s decision to apply for Nato membership comes after the country’s ruling Social Democrats party abandoned decades of opposition to the policy.

An enlargement of Nato to include Sweden and Finland would infuriate Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has called the alliance’s post-Cold War expansion in eastern Europe a threat and cited it as a reason for attacking Ukraine.