Sweden’s government has announced that the Nordic country has formally made an application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced that Sweden is joining Finland in seeking NATO membership amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The move is a historic shift that comes after more than 200 years of military nonalignment in the Scandanavian nation.
The move on Monday is likely to outrage the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.
It came after neighboring Finland announced Sunday that it too would seek to join the 30-country military alliance.
Both counties have faced threats and mounting pressure from Russia over joining NATO.
In a statement to lawmakers in the Swedish capital, PM Andersson called it “a historic change in our country´s security policy.”
“We will inform NATO that we want to become a member of the alliance,” she said.
“Sweden needs formal security guarantees that come with membership in NATO.”
Meanwhile, Putin warned that any deployment of Nato military infrastructure in Finland and Sweden will trigger a response from Moscow.
The expansion of Nato to include Sweden and Finland poses “no direct threat for us … but the expansion of military infrastructure to these territories will certainly provoke our response,” Putin said Monday during a televised summit meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a Moscow-led military alliance.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said: “This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences.
“The general level of military tensions will increase.
“They should have no illusions that we will just put up with this.
“It is a pity that common sense is being sacrificed for some phantom ideas about what should be done in the current situation.”