After two-year wait, Sweden joins NATO

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Sweden on Thursday became the 32nd member of NATO in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, ending two centuries of official non-alignment and capping two years of torturous diplomacy.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was visiting Washington, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to ceremonially receive the ratification documents after the hard-fought battle to secure the green lights needed from all NATO members.

“This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at NATO’s table, with an equal say in shaping NATO policies and decisions,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.

“After over 200 years of non-alignment Sweden now enjoys the protection granted under Article 5, the ultimate guarantee of allies’ freedom and security,” he said.

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The Swedish government announced it was holding a special government meeting to approve accession.

Later in the day, the Swedish prime minister is to attend the annual State of the Union address by President Joe Biden, who has been struggling to persuade the rival Republican Party to approve new aid to Ukraine.

Sweden’s blue and golden-yellow flag is expected to be hoisted on Monday at the Brussels headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.
Russia has vowed “countermeasures” over Sweden’s entry into NATO, especially if the alliance’s troops and assets deploy in the country.

Sweden and Finland, while both militarily intertwined with the United States and members of the European Union, have historically steered clear of officially joining NATO, formed in the Cold War to unite against the Soviet Union.

Read more:

Sweden set to formally join NATO as PM visits Washington

Hungary’s parliament speaker signs off on Sweden’s NATO accession

Russia’s Putin warns of nuclear war risk if NATO troops are sent to Ukraine

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