Finland's parliament on Wednesday passed legislation allowing the country to eventually become a member of Western military alliance NATO, an official tally showed, while approvals from Turkey and Hungary for the membership were still pending.
In response to Russia's Ukraine invasion Finland last May opted for deep military alignment by applying to join NATO, instead of solely relying on its own armed forces to defend the 1,300-kilometre (800 mile) border it shares with Russia.
By adopting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's founding documents, Finland may get a head start on neighbouring Sweden which has also applied to join the alliance but has had its application held back by existing member Turkey.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said his country is ready to take Finland in but still thinks Sweden is harbouring people he considers members of terrorist groups.
Both Finland and Sweden still await approval for their bids also from Hungary, the parliament of which began debating the ratifications on Wednesday and could hold a vote later this month.