Sweden Officially Joins NATO, Ending Decades of Neutrality

Sweden has now officially joined NATO as its 32nd member following the completion of its accession process in Washington.

The official transfer of documents occurred during a ceremony two years after Sweden sought membership in the military alliance in response to Russia’s extensive invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson emphasized the importance of “unity and solidarity” as guiding principles for Sweden.

According to US President Joe Biden, NATO is currently at its strongest.

The US president remarked, “NATO stands more united, determined, and dynamic. Together with our newest ally, Sweden, NATO will continue to stand for freedom and democracy for generations to come.”

“This has been a bit of a journey, but we’ve known from day one that we would be here one day,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in a post on X, noted that Sweden contributes capable military forces and a top-tier defense industry to the alliance, making it stronger and more secure.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky celebrated Sweden’s entry into NATO, saying, “One more country in Europe has become more protected from Russian aggression.”

Russia has promised to respond with political and military actions to Sweden’s decision.

Sweden sought NATO membership following Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine in 2022 but faced obstacles from two member states.

Turkey delayed its approval due to disagreements over Sweden’s alleged support for Kurdish separatists but withdrew its objections earlier this year.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban cited hostility from Sweden as the reason for delaying approval, which was finally granted last week by the Hungarian parliament.

NATO’s policy mandates mutual assistance among members in case of an attack.

Secretary Blinken highlighted Sweden’s departure from a 200-year tradition of non-alignment, triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that NATO’s expansion was not guaranteed or anticipated.

Mr. Kristersson said, “We are humble, but we are also proud. We will live up to all expectations. We share burdens, responsibilities, and risk with other allies.”

He emphasized that the regional security situation has reached its most critical level since the Second World War, highlighting Sweden’s intention to enhance and benefit from security by joining NATO.

Last April, Finland’s accession effectively extended NATO’s border with Russia twofold.

A flag-raising event at NATO headquarters in Brussels will officially mark Sweden’s accession on Monday.