Senate panel approves Finland, Sweden’s bid to join NATO

Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) holds a press conference with other Republican senators to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
Anna Rose Layden

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday easily passed a resolution pressing NATO to quickly admit Finland and Sweden, a sign of bipartisan agreement about pushing back on Russian aggression. 

In a voice vote, the committee approved the measure supporting the two Nordic states’ entrance into the security alliance and urged other NATO members to do the same. There were no objections. 

“The committee’s passage of this resolution is a testament to the bipartisan support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the urgency of strengthening the alliance amidst Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine,” panel ranking member James Risch (R-Idaho) said in a statement after the vote.  

“I’ve long said that Sweden’s and Finland’s strong political and military traditions make them a perfect fit for the alliance. I hope the Senate will follow the committee’s lead and move quickly to pass this resolution.”  

NATO has sought to strengthen its alliance against Russia since the Kremlin’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine began on Feb. 24, a war that has also threatened nearby member countries.  

The two Nordic countries have also experienced effects from the attack, with Russian jets violating both Swedish and Finnish airspace. 

The 30-member organization now hopes to send a message of unity to Russian President Vladimir Putin with the entrance of Finland and Sweden, which up until now have worked alongside NATO but remained strategically separate.  

The two new bids have garnered the full support of the Biden administration and are now set to easily receive the required two-thirds Senate approval. 

Tags Finland James Risch Jim Risch NATO Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sweden Vladimir Putin
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