US President Joe Biden is scheduled to approve ratification documents for Sweden and Finland joining NATO on Tuesday after senators rebuked Russia by signing last week.
In a rare show of unity, the upper house voted 95 to 1 to support the two nations’ applications to join the defensive military alliance. Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine and defied warnings from Moscow not to seek membership.
Mr. Biden celebrated the Senate’s “historic vote” and praised the defense skills of the prospective members.
Mr. Biden encouraged the two Nordic nations to join the alliance when he hosted Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the White House in May.
Andersson then said that Sweden would be best protected by NATO.
Sweden and Finland maintained close relations with the alliance and regularly conducted joint exercises, shared information and participated in peacekeeping missions.
However, they are not protected by Article 5, NATO’s defense clause which states that an attack on one member is an attack on them all. Article 5 is considered the cornerstone of the alliance.
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May, ending a long tradition of maintaining neutrality. Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that Russia halt its expansionist efforts.
Accession must be ratified by the parliaments of all NATO’s 30 members. Ratification could take up to a year, but has already been approved by Germany, Canada and Italy.
Mr. Biden delivered the minutes for Senate review last month.
Updated: August 9, 2022, 3:12 p.m