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NATO Officially Adds New Member State

NATO officially welcomed Sweden as its 32nd member state on Wednesday, marking a historic end to the Scandinavian country’s long-standing military non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at NATO’s table, with an equal say in shaping policies and decisions,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, hailing Sweden’s accession nearly two years after Moscow’s war upended European security.

With its entry, Sweden activates the Article 5 collective defense clause, granting it the “ultimate guarantee” that allies will come to its aid if attacked. The only prior Article 5 invocation followed the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States.

“Sweden brings capable armed forces and a first-class defense industry,” Stoltenberg stated. “Its accession makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and the whole Alliance more secure.”

Sweden abandoned over 200 years of military non-alignment by joining NATO, ending decades of neutrality in a seismic policy shift driven by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Its neighbor Finland also joined the alliance last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted the war achieved “everything Putin sought to prevent,” pushing Sweden and Finland into the alliance. Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson called it a “historic day,” vowing Sweden would “live up to high expectations” and making “unity and solidarity” its “guiding light.”

The expansion delivers a strategic and symbolic prize for NATO, bolstering its deterrent capabilities while delivering a stinging rebuke to Putin’s long-stated opposition to further alliance enlargement along Russia’s borders.

Sweden’s accession solidifies a newly energized NATO’s frontline resilience while extending its security blanket across Northern Europe in the era of renewed great power competition.