Swedish Army Trains with NATO Soldiers in Poland

One hundred Swedish soldiers, whose country has officially applied to join NATO, participate in Defender 22, a multinational exercise organized by the United States, to work on cooperation between different armies.

READ MORE: President Joe Biden on Thursday enthusiastically welcomed Sweden and Finland’s bids to join the NATO security alliance — a move that would bring two of Europe’s most modern militaries right to Russia’s northwest border.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, flanked by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, Biden said he would send their membership applications to the U.S. Congress, where he hopes for a swift approval.

"Sweden and Finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies,” Biden said. “And a strong moral sense of what is right. They meet every NATO requirement, and then some."

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement about Sweden and Finland on Wednesday at the alliance headquarters in Brussels. The 29 other NATO members will have to agree by consensus to admit the two nations—a process that normally takes up to a year but is expected to be faster in this case.

Finland’s and Sweden’s applications mark a significant departure from their decades-long neutrality, dating from the Cold War. Moscow’s decision to invade neighboring Ukraine on February 24 raised fears in both countries, especially in Finland, which shares a border with Russia of more than 1,300 kilometers.

At a Wednesday meeting at the Pentagon, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told his Swedish counterpart, Peter Hultqvist, “We look forward to your contributions to the NATO alliance.”


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