msid 108307499,imgsize 691515

NEW DELHI: Sweden on Thursday officially joined Nato, becoming the 32nd member of the transatlantic military alliance. This marks the end of decades of post-World War II neutrality for Sweden, as concerns about Russian aggression in Europe have grown following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The ceremony was presided by Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson and secretary of state Antony Blinken, took place at the State Department. Blinken described the occasion as a historic moment for Sweden, the alliance, and the transatlantic relationship. He emphasised that the Nato alliance is now stronger and larger than ever before.
Later in the day, Kristersson will visit the White House and attend US president Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress. The White House expressed that having Sweden as a Nato ally will enhance the safety of the United States and its allies.
In a statement, the White House highlighted the significance of Nato as the most powerful defensive alliance in history, crucial for the security of its citizens. Sweden and Finland, which joined Nato last year, abandoned their long-standing military neutrality as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
During his speech to Congress, President Biden is expected to use Sweden’s accession to Nato as evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to divide and weaken the alliance have failed. The president will also use this opportunity to call on reluctant Republicans to approve stalled military assistance to Ukraine as the war enters its third year.
Sweden’s membership had faced objections from Nato members Turkey and Hungary. Turkey had concerns about Sweden’s handling of Kurdish groups it considers terrorists, while Hungary’s President Viktor Orban showed pro-Russian sentiment. However, after months of delay, both countries ratified Sweden’s admission, clearing the path for its entry into Nato.


Source link