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Sweden becomes a formal member of NATO – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

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Sweden becomes a formal member of NATO – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

Two years after Russia went to full-scale war against Ukraine, Sweden has become part of NATO. The Swedish government today made the formal decision to become part of the defense alliance.

– This is truly a historic day. Sweden is now a member of NATO, says Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

He handed over the final documents to US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken this afternoon, to applause from those present.

– We are humble, but also proud. This is a victory for freedom, Kristersson said.

– This is truly a historic day. Sweden is now a member of NATO, says Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

Addressed the nation

– Let me be the first to welcome Sweden as the 32nd member of NATO, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Sweden was also welcomed into NATO, when US President Joe Biden gave his speech on the state of the kingdom.

– With Sweden’s incorporation, NATO is more united, said Biden, adding that NATO is now stronger than ever.

Following the formal incorporation into Nato, Sweden’s Prime Minister spoke to his own nation.

– The membership means that we have come home. Home to a large number of democracies working together for peace and freedom, Kristersson said.

– Historic day

– This is a good day for Sweden. Absolutely, says Swede Hans Strandberg, whom NRK meets in Åre.

Hans Strandberg in Åre thinks it is time for Sweden to become a member of NATO.

Photo: Jøte Toftaker / NRK

Sweden’s membership was mentioned in a statement from the White House, which comes just before US President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech.

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– With Sweden as a NATO ally, the US and its allies become even safer, the statement says.

The incorporation of both Sweden and Finland is the most significant expansion of the defense alliance in several decades.

Finland has a 1,340 km long border with Russia.

– This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at the NATO table, with an equal right to create NATO’s policy and decisions, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson signs the final documents on NATO membership for Sweden.

Photo: Tom Samuelsson/Governingskansliet

– A good day for Sweden

Sweden has been neutral for 208 years, but has been considering NATO membership for the past twenty years.

The war in Ukraine has forced the country to make an abrupt change in its security strategy.

– This is not the end of something, but the beginning of something, Kristersson said.

As a member, Sweden will receive the same protection as all other neighbours: an attack on one NATO country is understood as an attack on all.

– We have to relate to the world as it is, and not how we sometimes wish it to be, Kristersson said.

The statement came after Hungary became the last country to approve Sweden’s NATO application.

The process has been delayed by Turkey and Hungary, which have better relations with Russia than the rest of the alliance.

Jan Petterson feels that it is safe that Sweden has become a member of NATO.

Photo: Jøte Toftaker / NRK

– About time

Hans Strandberg in Åre thinks NATO membership was about time.

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– I think it is good for the whole Nordic region that we join NATO, and I think it is important. It will strengthen the community with the Nordic countries, and with the European countries, says Strandberg to NRK.

We meet Jan Petterson, who carries skis on his shoulder. He feels that it feels safe that Sweden will now become a NATO member.

– You are not strong alone. If you are together with others, you stand stronger. Considering how the world looks, it is needed, says Petterson.

Ella Gren thinks it has taken a long time, but that it is good that they succeeded in the end. She is worried about the situation.

– Yes, it’s a bit uncomfortable. Especially when it gets so close, says Gren.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says that Sweden’s membership will strengthen security in the north.

– I am happy that this is happening today. It feels historic, correct and safe that Sweden is in NATO, he says to NRK.

Ella Gren in Åre thinks it is good that Sweden becomes a member of NATO

Photo: Jøte Toftaker / NRK

Military exercise

In his address to the nation, Sweden’s Prime Minister says that it has been two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but that President Putin has not achieved his goals.

-On the contrary. With support from the outside world, Ukraine today shows its impressively strong will to defend itself, Kristersson said.

Furthermore, he said that Ukraine was not only fighting for its own independence, but that the country was also fighting for the right of others to decide on their own future.

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– For everyone’s right not to be invaded and oppressed by countries like Russia, said the Prime Minister.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also welcomes NATO expansion.

– Today it is important to note that yet another European country has become more protected against Russian evil, Zelenskyj said.

He added that a day will come when Sweden will also congratulate Ukraine on membership in the defense alliance.

Norwegian soldiers get ready to take part in the Nordic Response military exercise outside Alta. Over 20,000 Norwegian and allied soldiers from 13 countries will train together to defend the Nordic region.

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

Unrest and disappointment

Kristersson also addressed the part of the population who do not share the joy of the country’s new defense policy, but who feel unease and disappointment.

– In a democracy, you can of course have different opinions, and I of course respect those of you who wanted Sweden to remain outside, said the Prime Minister.

He elaborated that it is the Swedes’ own decision whether Sweden and Swedish soldiers and sailors should take part in NATO missions.

– We decide ourselves when we need military support from NATO, Kristersson said.

In the midst of the celebrations, there is also criticism from Russia that NATO is holding military exercises in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

20,000 soldiers from 13 countries take part in the exercise, which lasts until 14 March.

Russia’s representative in the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, says that the military exercise appears to be training for armed confrontation with Russia.

Patrushev says the exercise is destabilizing and that it increases tension.

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