Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in Washington on Wednesday that Sweden has got guarantees from the US that it will be supported while a potential application to join NATO is being reviewed by the alliance’s 30 members.

During the Cold War, Sweden and Finland stayed out of NATO, but Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invasion of Ukraine have caused the countries to reconsider their security policy, with NATO membership becoming more possible.
Both countries are afraid that they will be susceptible throughout the application process, which could take up to a year if all NATO members approve it.

“Obviously, I’m not going to go into any details,” Linde told Swedish television from Washington after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“However, not concrete security assurances,” she continued. “Those can only be obtained by being a full member of NATO.”
Linde remained tight-lipped about the assurances she’d obtained from Blinken.

“They would mean that Russia can be clear that any bad operations directed against Sweden, as they have threatened, would not be something that the US would just allow to happen… without a response,” she said.
Blinken reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to NATO’s policy of welcoming new members, according to a statement released by the US State Department following the meeting, although it made no mention of security assurances.
Last month, Sweden’s defense minister warned that such an application may prompt a range of Russian responses, including cyberattacks and hybrid measures, such as misinformation operations, aimed at undermining Sweden’s security.
If Sweden and Finland join NATO, Moscow has threatened to place nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles in the European exclave of Kaliningrad.
Linde, who will now fly to Canada to meet with the Canadian government on security issues, said the US was strongly in favor of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, which would boost stability in the Baltic and Arctic regions.
This month, both Sweden and Finland are anticipated to make a decision on whether or not to apply to join NATO.

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