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NATO invites Finland and Sweden to join and says Russia is a “direct threat”

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NATO on Wednesday invited Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance in one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed Helsinki and Stockholm from their traditional neutrality.

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The 30 NATO allies made the decision at their Madrid summit and also agreed to formally treat Russia as the “most significant and direct threat to the security of allies”, according to a statement from the summit.

Today we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATONATO leaders said in their statement, after Turkey lifted the veto on both nations’ accession.

Ratification in allied parliaments is likely to take up to a year, but once done, Finland and Sweden will be covered by NATO’s Article 5 collective defense clause, putting them under the protective nuclear umbrella of the United States.

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We will make sure that we can protect all allies, including Finland and Sweden”, said Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the alliance.

Likewise, the allies are going to increase their troop presence in the Nordic region, carrying out more military exercises and naval patrols in the Baltic Sea.

After four hours of talks in Madrid on Tuesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts on a series of security measures that will allow the two Nordic countries to overcome the Turkish veto that Ankara imposed in May due to its concern. for terrorism.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 to defend against the Soviet threat. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 gave a new impetus to the alliance after the failures in Afghanistan and internal discord during the era of former US President Donald Trump.

We are sending a strong message to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin: ‘You are not going to win’”, said the president of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, in a speech.

The allies also agreed on NATO’s first new strategic concept – its master planning document – in a decade. Russia, previously classified as a strategic partner, is now identified as the organization’s main threat.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine isa direct threat to our western way of lifeBelgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo added, citing the wider impact of the war, such as rising energy and food prices.

The planning document also cited China as a challenge for the first time, laying the groundwork for the 30 allies to plan how to deal with Beijing’s transformation from a benign trading partner to a fast-growing competitor, from the Arctic to cyberspace.

Unlike Russia, whose war in Ukraine has raised serious concerns in the Baltics about the possibility of an attack on NATO territory, China is not an adversary, the leaders said. Nevertheless, Stoltenberg has repeatedly called on Beijing to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow says is a “special operation”.

More NATO

At the summit, NATO agreed on a long-term support package for Ukraine, in addition to billions of dollars already pledged in arms and financial support.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said weapons would continue to be supplied to kyiv, which is seeking help to outpace Russian artillery, especially in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is slowly advancing in a war of attrition.

The message is: we will continue to do so – and intensively – as long as it is necessary for Ukraine to be able to defend itselfScholz said.

The Western alliance also agrees that major allies such as the United States, Germany, Britain and Canada pre-allocate troops, weapons and equipment to the Baltic and step up training exercises. NATO also intends to have up to 300,000 soldiers ready to deploy in the event of conflict, as part of an expanded NATO response force.

Russia is achieving the opposite of what Putin intended when he launched his war in Ukraine, in part to counter NATO expansion, Western leaders say.

Both Finland, which has a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, and Sweden, the homeland of the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, are now preparing to bring well-trained militaries into NATO, with the aim of giving the alliance superiority in the Baltic Sea.

“One of the most important messages from President Putin … was that he was against any further enlargement of NATO,” said Stoltenberg On tuesday night. “He wanted less NATO. Now President Putin is getting more NATO on his borders.”

Source: Gestion

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