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Sweden officially becomes the 32nd member of NATO

Photo: Jess Rapfogel Associated Press This step marks “a victory for freedom”, declared the Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, during a ceremony in Washington engraving in marble Sweden's accession to the Atlantic Alliance.

Shaun Tandon – Agence France-Presse in Washington

March 8, 2024

  • Europe

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine and two years of negotiations, Sweden officially became the 32nd member of NATO on Thursday, a major step for the Scandinavian country which thus ends two centuries neutrality then military non-alignment.

“All good things come to those who wait,” declared the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken upon receiving from the Swedish government the official documents engraving in stone Sweden's accession to the Atlantic Alliance.

This step marks “a victory for freedom”, declared Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson during this ceremony, traveling to Washington. The ratification of this accession was obtained after a long struggle after long negotiations with certain members of the Alliance.

“If we step back and think about where we were three years ago, none of this was predictable,” said Antony Blinken. According to him, “there is no better example than today (to demonstrate) the strategic debacle that its invasion of Ukraine has become for Russia.”

“This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at the NATO table,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement. “After 200 years of non-alignment, Sweden now enjoys the protection of Article 5, the full guarantee for the freedom and security” of its members, he added.

NATO is now “stronger than ever,” Joe Biden said in a statement. Russian President Vladimir Putin “wanted to divide” the defense alliance by attacking Ukraine, but the transatlantic organization is on the contrary “more united, determined and dynamic than ever,” the American president said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “wanted to divide” the defense alliance by attacking Ukraine, but the transatlantic organization is on the contrary “more united, determined and dynamic than ever,” the American president said.

For Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sweden is “better protected against Russian evil” now that it has officially joined NATO.

“One day, Sweden will also congratulate Ukraine for joining the Atlantic Alliance,” he hoped, even if that prospect seemed distant for his war-torn country.< /p>

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Russian countermeasures

On Monday, the blue and yellow flag must be raised in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Russia promised last week to take “countermeasures” in response to Stockholm's accession, which will depend “on the conditions and extent of Sweden's integration into the 'NATO'.

The accession of Sweden, following that of Finland last year, means that all countries bordering the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Russia, are now members of the Atlantic Alliance .

Sweden and Finland, although militarily close to the United States through their membership in the European Union, have historically preferred to stay away from the alliance, formed during the War cold towards the Soviet Union.

While Sweden contributes to international peacekeeping forces, it has not experienced war since a conflict with Norway in 1814.

Sweden officially becomes the 32nd member of NATO

Photo: John Thys Agence France-Presse Among others in the Court of Honor of NATO headquarters in Brussels, a flagpole does not have a flag, awaiting that of Sweden.

“Too many sacrifices”

Helsinki and Stockholm announced at the same time their candidacy to join NATO in 2022, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Finland had obtained its accession to the Alliance last April, but Sweden's accession process was punctuated by negotiations with Turkey, which accused the Scandinavian country of leniency towards Kurdish activists who had taken refuge on its soil, considered to be some as terrorists by Ankara.

Sweden also had to deal with the reluctance of the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Viktor Orban had certainly given his agreement in principle a long time ago but, before completing the process, he demanded “respect” from Stockholm, after years of “denigration” of his policies.< /p>

At the end of February, the Hungarian Parliament finally ratified Sweden's membership in NATO.

According to an SR radio poll broadcast on Friday, a majority of Swedes believe that their country has made “too many sacrifices” to become a member of NATO, while admitting that Sweden's security has been strengthened with this membership .

Sweden's accession to NATO was accompanied by a clear hardening of the rhetoric of its leaders, with the commander-in-chief of the Swedish armed forces, Micael Biden, declaring in January that his compatriots “had to mentally prepare for war.”

In addition to its NATO candidacy, Sweden signed an agreement at the beginning of December authorizing the United States to have access to 17 military bases on its soil.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116