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Sweden and Finland submit formal applications to join NATO

The Swedish and Finnish ambassadors have formally submitted their NATO applications to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in an online video ceremony on Wednesday in Brussels.

Brussels, 18 May 2022 (dpa) — The Swedish and Finnish ambassadors have formally submitted their NATO applications to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in an online video ceremony on Wednesday in Brussels.

Accepting the applications at NATO headquarters, Stoltenberg said the move was a “historic step” in a “critical moment” for European security against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

epa09954344 (L-R) Finland’s Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Sweden’s Ambassador to NATO Axel Wernhoff attend a ceremony to mark Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, 18 May 2022. Finland and Sweden are applying for NATO membership as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move would bring the expansion of the Western military alliance to 32 member countries. EPA-EFE/JOHANNA GERON / POOL

The NATO chief said the alliance would assess the membership bid as quickly as possible, but the security interests of all allies “have to be taken into account.” He was referring to recent objections from Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he could not agree to the accession of two countries that sanctioned his country and repeated allegations that both nations support “terrorist organizations,” a reference to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish militia People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Syria.

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