Administration

Blinken says US would ‘strongly support’ Swedish, Finnish NATO memberships

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives an opening statement during a House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request for the department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Greg Nash
Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives an opening statement during a House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request for the department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the United States would “strongly support” Sweden and Finland should they decide to pursue membership in NATO.

“We, of course, look to them to make that decision. If that’s what they decide, we will strongly support it,” he told Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) during a House hearing.

Blinken told Costa he could not provide a timeline but noted it is “under very active consideration by both countries.”

Sweden and Finland have both expressed interest in joining NATO since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg signaled on Thursday that Sweden and Finland would be welcomed into the alliance.

“It’s their decision,” the NATO chief said, according to The Associated Press. “But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed, and I expect that process to go quickly.”

The interest in Sweden and Finland joining NATO after decades remaining outside the military alliance is another reflection of the unexpected turns the Russian war in Ukraine has had on international policy.

Finland shares a border with Russia and had not embraced NATO membership throughout the Cold War and its aftermath, but warmed toward the idea quickly after the invasion began in February.

Membership in NATO stipulates that any attack on a NATO member is an attack on all members. 

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and one of Russia’s reasons for invading it was because its government was pursuing the idea.

The United States and other NATO nations have not sent soldiers to Ukraine because it is not a member state.

Tags Antony Blinken Jens Stoltenberg Jim Costa
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