Sweden Joins NATO | God's World News

Sweden Joins NATO

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    The NATO flag, left, is raised next to the Swedish flag during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 11, 2024. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP)
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    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, and Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shake hands during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 11, 2024. (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officials raised Sweden’s flag at the group’s headquarters on Monday. The move confirms the Nordic country as the 32nd NATO member. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago prompted Sweden’s citizens to seek security with the alliance.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Crown Princess Victoria, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attended the ceremony. Soldiers raised the blue banner emblazoned with a yellow cross among the flags at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

“The Russian, brutal, full-scale invasion against Ukraine united Sweden behind the conclusion that a full-fledged NATO membership is the only reasonable choice,” Kristersson says. Swedish government ministers and party leaders attended in a show of unity.

Sweden set aside decades of post-World War II neutrality when it formally joined NATO on March 7. Neighbor Finland joined in April 2023 in another historic move.

Finland’s defense ministry welcomed “our brothers and sisters in arms” on social media. Its post states, “We stand at the beginning of a new era. Together and with other allies in peace, in crisis and beyond.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 triggered a drastic change in public opinion in both Finland and Sweden. Within three months, each applied to join the world’s biggest security alliance.

NATO leaders promise that Ukraine itself will join the alliance one day. But that will almost certainly not happen while the conflict rages on.

“When President Putin launched his full-scale invasion two years ago, he wanted less NATO and more control over his neighbors. He wanted to destroy Ukraine as a sovereign state, but he failed,” Stoltenberg says. “NATO is now bigger and stronger. Ukraine is closer to NATO than ever before, and as the brave Ukrainians continue to fight for their freedom, we stand by their side.”

Sweden’s membership completes a ring of NATO lands around the Baltic Sea. Each country benefits from the NATO security guarantee: An attack on one will prompt a response from all.

Meanwhile, 20,000 troops from 13 countries conduct NATO drills. The exercises are happening in Sweden as well as in Finland and Norway.

The Nordic drills are part of broader exercises called Steadfast Defender 24. They are NATO’s largest in decades.

“We will share burdens, responsibilities, and risks with our allies,” Kristersson says. “All for one, and one for all.”

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10