Sweden's ruling party backs NATO membership

Edited By: Rustam Roy
Stockholm, Sweden Updated: May 15, 2022, 10:52 PM(IST)

Finland to join NATO Photograph:( AFP )

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Finland and Sweden had maintained neutral status in European conflicts but in the past two months both nations decided to reverse their policy to join the military alliance amid the Ukraine war.

After Finland officially announced it will bid for NATO membership, Sweden's ruling Social Democratic Party declared it favoured joining the European military alliance.

"Joint Swedish-Finnish NATO bid is the best thing for Sweden's security," Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said.

Both Sweden and Finland have been making strident efforts to join NATO after the Russian invasion began in February fearing for their own security.

Also Read: Ukraine can win this war, aggression does not pay, says NATO chief 

Finland and Sweden had maintained neutral status in European conflicts but in the past two months both nations decided to reverse their policy to join the military alliance amid the Ukraine war.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken backed both bids declaring that the Biden administration "would strongly support the NATO application by either Sweden or Finland should they choose to formally apply to the alliance".

Watch: Will the Russian invasion end this year?

Russia on Sunday had stopped electricity supply to Finland after the country's energy agency said it was due to payment issues.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will "try to speed up that process" as NATO eyes new members. Stoltenberg asserted that the alliance would seek to increase its presence in Europe and provide "security assurances".

The latest development comes even as Russia carried out airstrikes in eastern Ukraine including in Lviv near the Polish border. Russia claimed it has carried out attacks in the Donetsk region.

The Russian military had said earlier it would be concentrating its forces in the eastern region after pulling out of Kyiv.   

(With inputs from Agencies)

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