August 03, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Observer Group, today released the below statement after the Senate voted near-unanimously to admit Sweden and Finland into the defensive alliance following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The vote comes shortly after Senator King joined a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Finland.
“Six months ago, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine with no provocation, hoping to divide the NATO Alliance and to rebuild the Soviet Union. He has failed on both counts. The United States and our allies have stood steadfast against Russian aggression, reaffirmed our commitment to NATO, and provided Ukraine with the tools to hold strong against Putin’s attacks. Today, the U.S. Senate took a historic step to build on this resolute response by approving Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the defensive alliance.
“The addition of these two allies will make NATO stronger and more united in the face of Putin’s misguided ambitions. Combined, Sweden and Finland are a significant boost to the defensive capabilities of the alliance. I saw firsthand the benefits of these potential new members earlier this year, when I traveled to Finland as part of a bipartisan Congressional Delegation shortly after they formally requested to join NATO. It was clear the nation and its leaders shared our commitment to promoting democracy, countering Russian aggression, and strengthening the international rule of law. I am hopeful that both applications will continue to move forward swiftly.
“This vote has made one thing abundantly clear: the free world stands united against Vladimir Putin’s would-be empire building, and is ready to respond against his illegal and immoral military attacks. NATO, the United States, and the U.S. Senate will not allow him to destroy freedom-loving nations; we will stand with our allies, as we have in the past, united against despotism.”