Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats said on Sunday they were supporting the country to join NATO, giving up decades of opposition in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and creating a large majority in parliament for membership.
With neighboring Finland ready to submit its application, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is now almost certain to submit a formal application within days.
“The party board decided at its meeting on May 15, 2022 that the party will work for Sweden to join NATO,” the Social Democrats said in a statement.
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Joining NATO was a distant prospect just a few months ago, but the Russian attack on Ukraine has prompted both Sweden and Finland to rethink their security needs and seek security in an alliance they parted from during the long Cold War.
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The war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a special military operation but has already left thousands dead and millions displaced, has destroyed a long-standing security policy and sparked a wave of public support for NATO membership in both countries.
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In Finland, President Sauli Niinisto on Sunday confirmed the country’s intentions to apply, saying the region would benefit.
The Social Democratic party also said it was against the stationing of nuclear weapons or permanent NATO military bases in Sweden.
— Reporting by Johan Ahlander, Simon Johnson and Niklas Pollard