US Senate ratifies Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession | Russia-Ukraine war News

The Senate voted 95-1 in favor of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, making the US the 23rd out of 30 member states to approve.

US Senate approved Finland and Sweden join NATOThe most significant expansion of the 30-member alliance since the 1990s amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Senate voted 95-1 in favor of the two Nordic countries’ accession on Wednesday, making the United States the 23rd of 30 NATO nations to formally endorse it so far, after Italy ratified it. browsing earlier in the day and France on Tuesday.

“This historic vote sends an important signal of the United States’ unwavering, bipartisan commitment to NATO and to ensuring our alliance is ready to face the challenges of today and tomorrow. “, Biden said in a statement.

President Joe Biden praised the Senate’s quick approval process – the fastest since 1981.

Senators from both parties strongly endorsed the two countries’ membership, describing them as important allies with whom modern militaries have worked closely with NATO.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said: “The performance of these two prosperous, democratic nations is outstanding and will help strengthen the NATO alliance.”

The only opponent is Republican Josh Hawley, who agrees that the US should focus on defending its homeland, but says Washington should focus on challenge from China than Europe.

Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said this was a signal of Western unity after Moscow launched a war with Ukraine on February 24.

“This is very important and a signal to Russia: they can’t threaten America or Europe,” Schumer said.

“Putin tried to use his war in Ukraine to divide the West. Instead, today’s vote shows that our union is stronger than ever,” he said.

All 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must agree if Finland and Sweden, the alliance’s longtime, non-aligned official partners, are admitted.

According to NATO’s list, seven member states have yet to formally agree to the two new accessions: the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

Turkey has presented a challengeasked Finland and Sweden certain concessions to support their membership.

Ankara has demanded the extradition of dozens of opponents of the government it labeled “terrorists” from both countries in exchange for their support.

Turkey said on July 21 that a special commission would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess whether the two countries were complying with its conditions.

Ratification can take up to a year.

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