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Sweden joins NATO, becomes 32nd member

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Sweden on Thursday became the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with the handover of documents at a ceremony in Washington, a historic move that Secretary of State Antony Blinken said marked a “strategic debacle” by Russia.

“Good things come to those who wait,” Blinken said as he accepted the accession documents from Sweden’s prime minister, following ratification by the 31 other alliance members.

“I think if you step back and think of where we were three years ago, none of this was foreordained,” Blinken said of Sweden joining NATO.

There is “no clearer example than today of the strategic debacle that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has become for Russia,” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Reacting, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hailed his country’s entry into NATO as a “victory for freedom,” as it turned the page on two centuries of non-alignment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The accession “is a victory for freedom today. Sweden has made a free, democratic, sovereign, and united choice to join NATO,” he said.

AFP

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