Sweden to join NATO, in big blow to Russia

Monday, February 26, 2024
 – Sweden is set to join NATO, after Hungary (the last NATO member holding the move) on Monday, February 26 held a parliamentary vote to approve the move.

Sweden is now going to become the military alliance's 32nd member

After, Russia's invasion of Ukraine,  Sweden abandoned its decades of military non-alignment and decided to join the world's biggest military alliance.

Lawmakers in Budapest, the capital of Hungary finally made the move on Monday, with the parliament voting 188 to 6 votes in favor of the resolution for Sweden to join.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who is friends with Russia’s Putin, withheld approval of Sweden's bid for more than 600 days.

Orbán gave his final nod just before the weekend, when his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, flew to Budapest and signed a defence deal following years of what Orbán called "damned" relations over human rights and the rule of law in his increasingly politically repressive country.

Now, all existing NATO allies have ratified the membership status of Sweden. A flag-raising ceremony is expected at NATO headquarters in Brussels later this week, less than a year after fellow Nordic country Finland joined the alliance.

Swedish PM Kristersson called it a “historic day.”

“The parliaments of all NATO member states have now voted in favour of Swedish accession to NATO. Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security,” Kristersson said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the Hungarian parliament’s vote, saying: “Sweden’s membership will make us all stronger and safer.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said all allies would benefit from Sweden’s membership. “It is good that the Hungarian parliament approved Sweden’s accession today,” Scholz said.

Moscow has threatened Sweden and Finland since both countries decided to turn toward NATO. Since the two Nordic countries began the process of joining the alliance, the West has tightened its grip on the Baltic Sea, putting more pressure on a vital transit route for the Russian navy.

The Russian embassy in Stockholm called Sweden "a legitimate target for Russia’s retaliatory measures" last year, while Finland closed the border with Russia after finding "systematic" and "organized" efforts by the Russian authorities to send African migrants into Finnish territories.


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