Finland and Sweden took one step closer to full membership in NATO as President Biden formally asked Congress to approve the alliance’s expansion in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The White House on Saturday released two letters that Biden sent to key congressional committees, along with two separate reports on the Scandinavian nations’ fitness to join the defensive group after seven decades of neutrality.

The president’s missives formally launched the “advise and consent” process that NATO requires each member to undertake before new members can be added.

In the US, that means approval by a two-thirds vote in the Senate — a vote that is widely expected to succeed, after 80 senators signed a letter approving the NATO expansion plan in May.

Biden lavishly praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid on Wednesday when the dictator dropped his objections to the new members.

NATO Summit.
World leaders pose for a photo during the NATO summit on June 29, 2022 in Madrid.
Stefan Rousseau/WPA/Pool/Getty Images
Joe Biden.
President Biden sent two letters to key congressional committees, along with two separate reports on the Sweden’s and Finland’s fitness to join NATO.
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden applied for membership in May as Russia’s months-long invasion of Ukraine put them under increasing threat from their eastern neighbor.



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