NATO center raises Sweden’s flag

The ceremonial flag-raising at NATO headquarters cements the country's place as the 32nd member.


World News

March 11, 2024 - 2:11 PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — Sweden’s flag was raised at NATO headquarters on Monday, cementing the Nordic country’s place as the 32nd member two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine persuaded its reluctant public to seek safety under the alliance’s security umbrella.

“The Russian, brutal, full-scale invasion against Ukraine united Sweden behind the conclusion that a full-fledged NATO membership is the only reasonable choice,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said. Swedish government ministers and party leaders from across the political spectrum attended in a show of national unity.

Sweden set aside decades of post-World War II neutrality when it formally joined NATO on March 7. The neighboring nation of Finland had already joined in April 2023 in another historic move ending years of military nonalignment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to order troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, triggered an about-face in public opinion in both countries and within three months they had applied to join the world’s biggest security organization.

March 7, 2024
March 14, 2022
February 17, 2022
December 21, 2021