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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sweden officially joins NATO

Stockholm has formally become a member of the US-led military bloc

Sweden has officially become the 32nd member of the US-led NATO military bloc after the document formalizing Stockholm’s accession entered into force on Thursday.

The accession ceremony will be held in Washington, where Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will submit his country’s documents to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Read more: Sweden Joins NATO, Signaling Shift in Security Policy Amid Rising Tensions with Russia

A document published by the US Department of State asserts that all conditions for Sweden’s entry into NATO have been fulfilled and that the protocol signifying Stockholm’s membership entered into force on March 7, 2024.

In a post on X, Kristersson also declared that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had informed him that all bloc members have formally accepted Sweden’s accession protocol and had invited Stockholm to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Stockholm is set to make a final formal decision on joining the bloc, which will be followed by a news conference. After that, Kristersson is set to issue an address to the nation, according to Swedish Radio.

Sweden and Finland abandoned their longstanding policies of non-alignment and submitted bids to join the US-led military bloc in 2022, citing security concerns following the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

Read more: Hungary to Ratify Sweden’s NATO Accession

The two countries’ bids to join had to be ratified by all current bloc members. Hungary and Türkiye initially objected, with Ankara accusing Sweden and Finland of harboring members of armed groups designated as terrorists under Turkish law.

Finland and Sweden eventually reformed their anti-terrorism laws and both bids were ultimately ratified. Finland became the 31st member of NATO in April 2023.

Meanwhile, Russia has insisted that NATO’s continued expansion poses a threat to its national security and is destabilizing Europe, making it less safe. Moscow has pointed out that it did not have any issues with the two Scandinavian countries before they decided to join the US-led bloc, but will now be forced to respond by reorganizing and strengthening its armed forces in the region.