Sweden makes historic move and announces intention to join Nato

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Sweden makes historic move announces intention to join Nato (PA)
Sweden makes historic move announces intention to join Nato (PA)

In a historic move, Sweden has decided to follow the moves of neighbouring Finland and apply for Nato membership due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This will end more than 200 years of military non-alignment from Sweden.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson called it “a historic change in our country’s security policy” as she addressed legislators in the Swedish capital Stockholm.

“Sweden needs formal security guarantees that come with membership in Nato,” Andersson said, adding that the country was acting together with Finland, whose government announced on Sunday it would seek to join the alliance.

Sweden follows Finland and announces intent to join Nato

Ms Andersson was expected to formally announce the Swedish government’s decision later on Monday together with opposition leader Ulf Kristersson.

The move was essentially a done deal after Ms Andersson’s Social Democratic Party on Sunday dropped its long-held opposition to Nato membership, giving those in favour a clear majority in 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.”

Once a regional military power, Sweden has avoided military alliances since the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Similarly to Finland, it remained neutral throughout the Cold War, however formed closer relations with Nato following the Soviet collapse.

Finland announced yesterday, May 15 that it would be applying for Nato membership, following threats from Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Public opinion in both countries was firmly against joining Nato until Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, after which polls indicated a dramatic shift in favour of membership.

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned the move would have destabilising consequences for security in Europe.

Putin said on Monday that Moscow “does not have a problem” with Sweden or Finland as they apply for Nato membership, but that “the expansion of military infrastructure on to this territory will of course give rise to our reaction in response”.

In the Swedish parliament, only the small Left and Green parties objected to seeking Nato membership.

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