President Joe Biden says Sweden and Finland have the “full, total, and complete backing” of the US in their decision to apply for NATO membership.
Both countries submitted their applications to be part of the Western defense alliance this week, marking a major shift in European geopolitics.
To join the alliance, the two nations need the support of all 30 NATO member states. But the move by the Nordic nations has been opposed by Turkey.
Speaking alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish Prime Minister Sauli Niinisto at the White House on Thursday, Biden called Sweden and Finland’s applications “a watershed moment in European security”.
“New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation,” he said. The president added that having two new members in the “high north” would “enhance the security of our allies and deepen our security cooperation across the board”.
Russia has repeatedly said it sees Nato as a threat and has warned of “consequences” if the block proceeds with its expansion plans.