Sweden joins NATO, becomes 32nd member of alliance

US President says addition of Sweden made NATO "more united, determined, and dynamic than ever."

WASHINGTON: Sweden has become the 32nd member of NATO after it joined the organization at a formal function in New York.

The membership had been formalized ok n the request of Sweden, two years after Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson handed over the final documentation to the U.S. government on Thursday, the last step in a drawn-out process to secure the backing of all members to join the military alliance. 

“Good things come to those who wait,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said as he received Sweden’s accession documents from Kristersson.

Blinken said “everything changed” after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, citing polls showing a massive shift in Swedish public opinion on joining NATO.

“Swedes realized something very profound: that if Putin was willing to try to erase one neighbor from the map, then he might well not stop there.”

For NATO, the accessions of Sweden and Finland – which shares a 1,340-km (830-mile) border with Russia – are the most significant additions in decades. It is also a blow for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has sought prevent any further strengthening of the alliance.

Sweden will benefit from the alliance’s common defence guarantee under which an attack on one member is regarded as an attack on all. 

U.S. President Joe Biden, in a statement, said the addition of Sweden made NATO “more united, determined, and dynamic than ever,” adding that the accession of Sweden and Finland to the alliance meant the addition of “two highly capable militaries.”

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