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NATO

US President Biden signs ratification of Swedish Nato bid

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed US ratification of bids by Finland and Sweden to enter Nato, taking expansion of the Western alliance in response to Russia's Ukraine invasion one step closer.

US President Biden signs ratification of Swedish Nato bid
President Joe Biden signs the Instruments of Ratification for the Accession Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty for the Kingdom of Sweden. From left, Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden, Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden's ambassador to the US, and Mikko Hautala, Finland's ambassador to the US. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

Biden said the two northern European countries would become “strong, reliable highly capable new allies” by making the “sacred commitment” to
mutual defense in the US-led transatlantic alliance.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted 95-1 in favor of the Nordic states’ accession, making the United States the 23rd of the 30 NATO countries to give formal endorsement. Unanimous support is needed for new membership.

Biden, who has made restoring traditional US alliances a cornerstone of his administration after Donald Trump’s move to upend ties around the world,
praised NATO as “the foundation of American security.”

“The United States is committed to the transatlantic alliance.”

Biden also praised Finland and Sweden, saying both have “strong democratic institutions, strong militaries and strong and transparent economies” that
would now bolster NATO.

President Vladimir Putin’s Russia “shattered peace and security in Europe” by invading Ukraine, Biden said. “Putin thought he could break us apart…. Instead, he is getting exactly what he did not want.”

The White House said that ahead of the signing ceremony, Biden talked by telephone with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s
President Sauli Niinisto.

“President Biden congratulated them on the US Senate’s swift, bipartisan ratification of their NATO accession protocols, and welcomed Finland and Sweden moving one step closer to becoming NATO Allies,” the White House said.

While the process plays out, “President Biden affirmed that the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or threat of aggression,” the statement said.

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NATO

Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

Swedish motorists were left puzzled this week after mistakenly receiving an air raid warning, an incident authorities termed "serious" on Thursday given the war in Ukraine and Russia's irritation over Sweden's Nato bid.

Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

“We are in the process of investigating how it happened”, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Transport Administration told AFP.

The alert was sent out on Wednesday on a so-called Traffic Message Channel, a system currently being phased out in Sweden that allows motorists to receive traffic updates via their car radio.

The message was sent out in the southern county of Blekinge, which is home to one of Sweden’s biggest air force bases.

“Important traffic message, Blekinge county: Air raid, danger”, appeared on vehicle dashboards, preceded by a danger triangle.

Media outlets then contacted the Transport Administration, informing it that the warning that had been sent out.

It was not immediately known how many motorists received the message. The Transport Administration said it knew “very little” about how it happened, but considered it “serious” given the current situation in the Nordic country and the war in Ukraine.

Moscow has reacted frostily to Sweden’s decision to abandon two centuries of military non-alliance and seek Nato membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russian military aircraft have violated Swedish airspace on several occasions this year before the country formally submitted its Nato application.

Sweden in 2018 reissued a wartime pamphlet to all households advising Swedes how to act in the event of a major crisis or conflict, despite the fact that the country has not experienced a war on its soil in more than 200 years.

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