NATO Summit Breakthrough: Russia Slammed as ‘Direct Threat’, as Sweden, Finland Invited to Join the Bloc

Written by | Friday, July 1st, 2022

Western public has ‘moral’ duty to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said, stressing that rising energy and food prices shouldn’t stop the Western public from supporting Ukraine. “There is a moral and political obligation to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told press in Madrid on Tuesday (28 June), as NATO leaders met in Spain for talks on a “historic” expansion in reaction to Russia’s war. During the NATO Summit taking place this week (27-29 June), Turkey has finally agreed to let Finland and Sweden join the alliance after a deal on Kurdish separatists and arms exports.
The foreign ministers of the three countries signed the joint memorandum on NATO accession, in which Finland and Sweden pledge not to “provide support to YPG/PYD [a Kurdish group] and the organization described as FETÖ [an overseas-based Muslim group] in Türkiye.“ They will also “step up activity” in the fight against Kurdish group PKK, which the EU has designated a “terrorist” entity. And they will “confirm that now there are no national arms embargoes in place” on weapons exports to Turkey, even though it might use them in ongoing fighting inside Syria. Sweden confirmed it had altered its laws to criminalize more types of pro-Kurdish activism. Both Nordic states even agreed to “address Türkiye’s pending deportation and extradition requests” of Kurdish leaders, while noting this had to be done in line with European due process.
Announcing this breakthrough, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said that Tomorrow [Wednesday] allied leaders will make a decision to invite Finland and Sweden to join NATO, to become NATO members. And following this summit, Finland and Sweden will become invitees.“ Stoltenberg also added that “if you just look at the map, you understand that it will change the whole security situation in the Baltic region. With Finland and Sweden …. close to the Baltic, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia — it will really strengthen our presence in that part of the world.“ Russia had threatened dire consequences if NATO took in any more members prior to launching its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin subsequently toned down its rhetoric on Nordic enlargement, but Stoltenberg still pointed out the irony of the developments. “Well, this is a Finnish and Swedish decision,” he said, underlining the fact that Russian president Vladimir Putin had no veto on neighboring countries’ paths. “He wanted less NATO. Now president Putin is getting more Nato on his borders. So what he gets is the opposite of what he actually demanded,” Stoltenberg said.
As Sweden and Finland were officially invited to join the 30-country bloc, NATO leaders have also called Russia the “most significant and direct threat” to the alliance’s peace and security. In a joint declaration, they endorsed a new strategic framework and launch the largest revamp of its defense and deterrence capabilities since the end of the Cold War, strengthening its forces on its eastern flank and massively ramping up the number of troops it has at high readiness. The declaration also addressed the growing military and economic reach of China. “We meet in the midst of the most serious security crisis we have faced since the second world war,” Stoltenberg said. Meanwhile, the U.S. has announced it is looking into increasing its military presence in Europe as part of ramping up defense in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The U.S. will enhance our force posture in Europe, and respond to the changed security environment,” U.S. President Joe Biden said, adding that it plans “to defend every inch of allied territory.”

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