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Sweden Ends Neutrality, Joins NATO

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Sweden has officially joined NATO as its 32nd member, ending over 200 years of military non-alignment.

The formal accession process concluded in Washington, D.C., on March 7, 2024, when Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken oversaw the deposit of Sweden’s “instrument of accession” to the alliance at the State Department.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Sweden, stating, “This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at NATO’s table, with an equal say in shaping NATO policies and decisions.” He emphasized the significance of Article 5, the collective defense clause, which assures Sweden’s security as part of the alliance.

Sweden pursued NATO membership following Russia’s 2022 Ukraine invasion, prompting regional security reassessment.

Despite the historical policy of military non-alignment, the perceived threat from Russia led to a strategic pivot towards NATO membership.

The accession process faced delays, particularly due to Turkey’s concerns over Sweden’s stance towards Kurdish groups and Hungary’s prolonged ratification.

Turkey approved in January 2024 after Sweden addressed its concerns; Hungary agreed in late February following diplomacy.

Sweden’s NATO entry bolsters the alliance’s Nordic and Baltic presence, turning the Baltic Sea into a “NATO sea.”

This expansion is seen as a significant geopolitical development and a reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank.

Sweden has joined NATO military drills like Nordic Response and opened bases to the U.S., boosting regional alliance strength amid Ukraine’s conflict.

Sweden joining NATO marks a historic shift in Europe’s security landscape, highlighting the alliance’s dedication to collective defense and national sovereignty.

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