Swedish PM to seek support for application to join NATO

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced on Sunday that on Monday she would seek broad support for her country’s application to join NATO. The change in her party’s long-standing views against NATO membership was caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The politician said NATO entry was “the best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people,” adding that “non-alignment has served us well, but our conclusion is that it will not serve us as well in the future.” Popular support for the move, which was only 40 percent before the war, has now increased to more than 60 percent.

Sweden’s intentions to apply were announced soon after Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto confirmed on Sunday that his country would join NATO. Both countries had been opposing membership for years, although they have been cooperating with the Alliance closely.

Ms Andersson cautioned on Sunday that the country would be “vulnerable” during the application process, before it is covered by the Alliance’s collective defence clause. Russia has warned Sweden and Finland of “serious consequences” and that it could deploy nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in the European exclave of Kaliningrad if Sweden and Finland become NATO members. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Sunday urged NATO allies to move fast to integrate new members.