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Finland and Sweden Ready to Become Members of NATO Alliance

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom.

Finland and Sweden are ready to become formal members of the NATO Alliance, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Finland and Sweden Ready to Become Members of NATO
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Finland and Sweden are ready to become formal members of the NATO Alliance, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken after meeting with the foreign ministers of the two Nordic countries in Washington.

Both nations, after long histories of military non-alliance, officially applied to join NATO in May, following the Kremlin’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine. At a press briefing, Secretary Blinken said, “Finland and Sweden fully understand what’s at stake for Ukraine, for NATO, for the entire world at this critical moment.”

“This year, Sweden and Finland have sent well over $1 billion in security, humanitarian and other assistance to Ukraine. Both recently announced their largest ever packages of military aid. Swedes and Finns have welcomed tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainians into their communities," said Secretary Blinken. "As EU members, they’re joining our partners to level unprecedented sanctions against Russia to curtail its ability to wage this war.”

Secretary Blinken noted that Swedish and Finnish troops have served with U.S. and NATO forces in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and that their militaries “work nearly seamlessly with Alliance forces.”

He emphasized the two countries will not only bolster the NATO Alliance through their military capabilities, but also through their values:

“An abiding commitment to democracy, the rules-based international order, respect for human rights, respect for human dignity,” he said.

Twenty-eight out of 30 NATO Allies have approved the accession of the two countries to the Alliance through a process that has proceeded swiftly. Turkey and Hungary have yet to do so. As Secretary Blinken pointed out, Sweden and Finland have taken significant concrete steps to address Turkey’s security concerns.

“It’s moving forward because of the very important work that both of our soon-to-be allies have done with Turkey, and I have every expectation that that process will continue and be brought to a successful conclusion soon.”

Secretary Blinken said the Kremlin’s brutal war on Ukraine has resulted in a series of failures for Russia, including failure to defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, and to erase Ukraine’s borders, identity, people, and resilience.

“And as Sweden and Finland prepare to join NATO,” Secretary Blinken said, “he’s failed at weakening our Alliance. Indeed, he’s only made NATO stronger.”