Sweden joins NATO as 32nd member, as war in Ukraine prompts security rethink

Sweden became the 32nd member of NATO today with the handover of documents at a ceremony in Washington, a historic move that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says marks a “strategic debacle” by Russia.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson handed over the final documentation to the US government today, 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,” Blinken said as he received Sweden’s accession documents from Kristersson.

“This is a historic moment for Sweden, for our alliance and for the transatlantic relationship,” Blinken says.

For NATO, the accessions of Sweden and Finland – which shares a 1,340-kilometer (833-mile) border with Russia – are the most significant additions in decades. It is also a blow for Russian President Vladimir Putin who has sought to prevent any further strengthening of the alliance.

“Today is a truly historic day. Sweden is now a member of NATO,” Kristersson said.

“The reason this is such a strong, powerful fit, is because Sweden embodies and promotes the core values that are at the core of NATO – democracy, liberty, the rule of law,” Blinken said.

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

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