Sweden says it has decided to apply for NATO membership

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson talks during the parliamentary debate on the Swedish application for NATO membership, in Stockholm, Monday, May 16, 2022. Sweden’s lawmakers debate about applying for NATO membership, paving the way for a historic expansion of the alliance that could deal a serious blow to Russia. (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP)

The Swedish government on Monday announced it has decided to apply for NATO membership in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.  

“The Government’s assessment is that NATO membership is the best way to protect Sweden’s security in light of the fundamentally changed security environment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the country said in a statement posted to its government website

Sweden’s decision is based on “a security analysis” involving the government and parliamentary parties, the conclusions of which were presented in a May 13 report, according to the statement. 

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson earlier on Monday said her country could submit its application to the alliance this week and that it should be done in coordination with Finland. 

Finland last week made known it plans to join the 30-country military alliance created in the aftermath of World War II. 

Both Nordic countries would break more than 70 years of non-alignment with NATO in seeking to join the organization.

The move is expected to draw the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has warned non-aligned European countries not to join. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 after Kyiv sought to join NATO. 

And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week expressed his opposition to the two countries applying for membership. 

But the decision has been strongly supported by the United States, with both President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken holding talks with Finland and Sweden last week. 

On Sunday Blinken said that he is “confident” that NATO will accept the countries’ applications to join the alliance despite Turkey’s reservations. 

Tags Antony Blinken Finland Magdalena Andersson Magdalena Andersson NATO NATO membership NATO membership Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Sweden Sweden

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