A group of more than 80 senators led by Sen. Thom Tills, R-N.C., on Tuesday sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to expedite the process of allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO. File Photo by UPI/Facebook
May 24 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of more than 80 senators on Tuesday sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to expedite the process of allowing Sweden and Finland to join NATO.
In the letter led by Sens. Jean Shaheen, D-N.H., and Thom Tills, R-N.C., the lawmakers said they offer their "full support for the United States to provide mutual security assurances to the governments of Sweden and Finland," adding that expanding NATO would put Russian President Vladimir Putin on alert amid his nation's invasion of Ukraine.
"As Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, is more united than ever in opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by President Putin," they wrote. "Expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin and any leader that attempts to follow in his path, that the free world stands ready to defend its values and sovereignty."
Sweden and Finland simultaneously applied to join NATO on Wednesday after mulling the decision in the weeks following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Biden last week met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto as he assured the two nations have full U.S. support and called their moves to join NATO "momentous" actions.
"I'm proud to welcome and offer the strong support of the United States for the applications of two great democracies and two close, highly capable partners to join the strongest and most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world," Biden said.
The two countries' efforts to join the alliance still face an uphill battle as all NATO members must unanimously approve new member states and Turkey immediately blocked the beginning of NATO accession talks for Finland and Sweden saying there were issues to work through regarding the two nations joining.
A woman eats food given to her by volunteers at a food delivery station run by a Hare Krishna group in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo