Jul 05, 2022

By Jane Brown

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In Brussels Tuesday, members of the 30 NATO allies have signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland.

“This is truly an historic moment for Finland, for Sweden, and for NATO,” declared NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who says the move sends the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals.

(Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto attend a news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, after signing their countries’ accession protocols at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium July 5, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The decision also further increases Russia’s strategic isolation in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February – a war which continues 4 and a half months later.

Tuesday’s signing off comes after the decisions of last week’s NATO summit when alliance members made the historic decision to invite the two nations to join the military club.

In advance of Tuesday’s developments, Ukraine’s foreign minister said NATO will not change its stance on Ukraine’s membership in the near future.

Highlighting Ukraine’s determination to integrate into NATO, Dmytro Kulebo told a Ukrainian news site, “In the short term, I do not see the potential for NATO to change its stance like the EU and start doing tangible things to accept Ukraine into the alliance.”

Also, pointing out that the unofficial decision on Ukraine was taken by NATO, Kuleba said: “The alliance will play subsidiary roles as a union so that Russia does not use the argument that it is at war with NATO.”

“Now they have restructured their aid packages, something will happen there, but strategically it has been decided that NATO will not be at the forefront of supporting Ukraine,” he added.

He also noted that as a NATO member, “a very strong distinction” must be made between aid coming from the U.S. and NATO.

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