Sweden Received U.S. Security Assurances if it Hands in NATO Application

Photo credit: AFP

Sweden said that it received assurances from the United States that if it were to hand in its NATO application, it would receive support during the process. 

Sweden and Finland both stayed out of NATO during the Cold War and since then. But Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, have led the two nations to rethink security policies, including NATO membership. 

Both Sweden and Finland are concerned that they would be vulnerable during the application process, which can take up to a full year to be approved by all of NATO’s 30 members. 

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that she met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and said that after the meetings, she felt that Sweden has an American assurance. She said it was not concrete security guarantees, because you can only receive those as a full NATO member. 

But the assurances would mean that if Russia wanted to direct “negative activities against Sweden,” which has been threatened, the U.S. would not allow this to happen without a response, Linde said. 

Last month, LInde warned that a NATO application could trigger a number of responses from Russia, including cyberattacks and hybrid measures like propaganda campaigns, in order to undermine the country’s security. 

Moscow has threatened nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in Kaliningrad if Sweden and Finland join the alliance bloc. 

Linde will next travel to Canada to discuss security matters similar to the U.S. trip.  

Both Sweden and Finland are expected to make their decisions about whether to join NATO sometime this month. Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that the countries need to be prepared for all kinds of action from Russia and that the invasion of Ukraine changed everything in terms of considering joining NATO. 

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