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US lawmakers vow ‘swift consideration’ for Finland, Sweden into NATO

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Lawmakers in the US said they would work to ensure “swift consideration” for Finland and Sweden if they apply to be members of NATO.

“Should Sweden and Finland decide to apply for membership, this committee is already working to ensure swift consideration,” the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) said.

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Speaking at a hearing on US efforts to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, Senator Bob Menendez was echoed by the top Republican on the SFRC.

“NATO is stronger than ever. Indeed, we are about to expand NATO. The NATO organization, it needs to be underscored, is a defensive organization. It is not an offensive organization. It threatens no one,” Senator Jim Risch said. “Russia needs to believe that not one square inch of NATO ground will be given up.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Finland and Sweden have considered applying to become NATO member states. This momentum has picked up support from the US and other European countries in the alliance.

Finland’s president and the prime minister announced on Thursday that they wanted to join NATO.

“#Finland’s announcement today marks a tremendous step forward in the future of transatlantic security. The decision to move toward #NATO membership is a serious one, and I extend my commitment to support Finland through this process,” Risch also tweeted.

Read more: ‘This is a fight he really doesn’t want’: Pentagon chief warns Russia’s Putin

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