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Finnish, Swedish leaders to visit White House amid NATO push

Posted at 7:35 AM, May 17, 2022

The leaders of Finland and Sweden will visit the White House this week and meet with President Joe Biden, the White House announced on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland will meet Biden on Thursday to discuss joining NATO, the White House said. They will also discuss their support for Ukraine and other global issues.

The move of adding Sweden and Finland could further upset the Kremlin, which has sought to weaken the NATO alliance.

The moves by Sweden and Finland come after Russia invaded Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO. Had Ukraine been a member of NATO, other nations in the alliance would have been obligated to provide defense for the nation.

The Biden administration has expressed support for for welcoming the two Scandinavian nations to the 30-member military alliance. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed confidence on Tuesday the two nations would join NATO.

“And so, we welcome the recent statements from governments of Finland and Sweden on their intention to seek NATO membership,” Jean-Pierre said. “We will strongly support these applications when they are formally presented in Brussels. Both Finland and Sweden are close and valued defense partners of the United States and of NATO.”

Membership in the alliance comes with a stipulation of providing military assistance if a member is attacked.