US President Joe Biden has voiced emphatic support for bids by Sweden and Finland to join NATO amid the war in Ukraine as he hosted the two Nordic countries’ leaders in Washington, DC.
Flanked by Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Biden told reporters on Thursday that Stockholm and Helsinki have the “total, complete backing” of Washington in their application for NATO membership.
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“They meet every NATO requirement and then some,” the US president said. “Having two new NATO members in the high north will enhance the security of our alliances and deepen our security cooperation across the board.”
Sweden and Finland officially submitted applications to join NATO on Wednesday.
Although previously neutral, Swedish and Finnish leaders have cited fears of possible Russian aggression after Russia invaded Ukraine as the driving factor behind their push to join the US-led bloc.
NATO countries have a collective defence pact – article 5 of the treaty spells out that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all.
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