The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has formally invited Finald and Sweden to become members of the international military alliance. The decision comes following tense negotiations in which Turkey voiced objections to admitting the two countries.
After weeks of discussion, Turkey agreed to drop its objections, paving the way for the two countries to join NATO.
“Today, NATO leaders took a historic decision to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO. The agreement concluded last night by Turkey, Finland and Sweden paved the way for this decision,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference at the NATO summit in Madrid.
The decision to admit the two countries comes amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Finland and Sweden sought to join the block of nations, which now includes 32 countries, as a deterrent to a potential Russian attack. If Russia attacks either country, NATO forces would be required to defend them.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure. The security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the Alliance, including during the accession process,” NATO said in a statement.
The news comes as the United States announced plans to help bolster NATO forces in Eastern Europe and establish its first permanent troop presence in Poland.
“In a moment when Putin has shattered peace in Europe and attacked the very, very tenets of rule-based order, the United States and our allies, we’re going to step up. We’re stepping up,” President Joe Biden said.