Sweden, and Finland declares to join NATO 

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Sweden has announced it wants to become a member of NATO. It has joined Finland in signalling its intention to sign up to the transatlantic military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked a security rethink.

Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s prime minister, said the move marked a new “era” for the Scandinavian country.

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“The government has decided to inform NATO of Sweden’s willingness to become a member of the alliance,” she told a news conference. 

“We are leaving an era to enter a new one,” according to the Swedish leader.

Its neighbour Finland will also seek membership. Last week Finland’s president and prime minister both urged the country to join “without delay”.

The announcement came after a debate in the Riksdagen, or parliament; earlier Monday showed that there is a huge support for joining NATO. Out of Sweden’s eight parties, only two smaller left-leaning parties opposed it.

On Sunday, the Swedish Social Democrats broke with the party’s long-standing position that Sweden must remain nonaligned, paving the way for a clear majority for NATO membership in the parliament.

“The Swedish government’s intent is to apply for NATO membership. A historic day for Sweden,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde wrote on Twitter. “With a broad support from political parties in the parliament, the conclusion is that Sweden will stand stronger together with allies in NATO.”

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Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia “does not have a problem” with Sweden or Finland over their bids to join NATO. But, he added, Moscow will react to any military expansion in the countries.

Discussing Finland and Sweden, Putin said that Russia “does not have a problem with these states. And therefore, in this sense, there is no direct threat to Russia created by the expansion involving these countries, but the expansion of military infrastructure onto this territory will, of course, give rise to our reaction in response.”

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