With eye on Russia, US Senate backs Finland and Sweden joining NATO

The lower house vote on Tuesday was welcomed by Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party is seen as the front runner in the national election which will take place on Sept. 25.
 
“In the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, strengthening the European front of the Alliance is an important step that can act as a deterrent to new Russian threats,” Meloni said in a statement. WASHINGTON: The US Senate approved on Wednesday (Aug 3) Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO, the most significant expansion of the 30-member alliance since the 1990s as it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As voting continued, the tally in the 100-member Senate was 83 to 1, easily surpassing the two-thirds majority of 67 votes required to support ratification of the two countries’ accession documents.

The two countries applied for NATO membership in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has repeatedly warned both against joining the alliance.

NATO’s 30 allies signed the accession protocol for them last month, allowing them to join the US-led nuclear-armed alliance once its members ratify the decision.

The accession needs to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 North Atlantic Treaty Organization members before Finland and Sweden can be protected by the defense clause stating that an attack on one ally is an attack against all.

The Italian parliament on Wednesday gave its final approval to a Bill ratifying Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO.

The Senate voted by 202 to 13 in favour of the bill, a day after the lower house approved it by a large majority.

The lower house vote on Tuesday was welcomed by Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party is seen as the front runner in the national election which will take place on Sep 25.
 
“In the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, strengthening the European front of the Alliance is an important step that can act as a deterrent to new Russian threats,” Meloni said in a statement.