WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) voted in support Finland and Sweden becoming members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
They were joined by majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, who voted 95-1 in favor of the candidacy of two nations.
Lankford released the following statement:
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reminded the world that there are still leaders of nations that want to murder their neighbors and steal their land. Peace in Europe is beneficial to everyone, and NATO is the most successful military alliance of all time. Adding strong militaries like Sweden and Finland to NATO increases our capacity to maintain peace in the future. As we face growing challenges in Asia, we cannot spend our time looking over our shoulder at Europe. Adding strong allies in Europe allows our nation to turn our attention to other threats and remain the world leader.”
Inhofe released the following statement:
“Amidst Russia’s reckless invasion of Ukraine, Putin seeking to bully and intimidate his NATO neighbors, and both Russia and China using military and economic power to control Europe, voting to ratify Finland and Sweden accession into NATO was a no-brainer. Both nations have already proven they’re net contributors to NATO and U.S. security for years. Once they join NATO, those contributions will grow even more.
“Finland spends 2 percent of its GDP on defense, fields one of Europe’s largest armies, and recently signed a deal to buy 64 F-35 fighter aircraft, which will increase interoperability with the U.S. and numerous other nations flying that aircraft. Sweden has plans to reach the 2-percent benchmark, and this year approved a 40 percent increase in its defense budget to achieve that mark, while also making key investments that support NATO’s ability to deter Russia, including the U.S.-built Patriot air defense system.
“Beyond their militaries, Sweden and Finland are key partners in mitigating and deterring threats from various hostile actors. Each nation is home to telecommunications companies that provide competitive, viable alternatives to China’s Huawei. They also take strong stances against Russian meddling and coercion in the increasingly significant Arctic region. And they’ve consistently made meaningful contributions in support of U.S.-led efforts to fight terrorism across the globe.
“Following the Senate’s vote, the U.S. will now join many of our fellow allies in ratifying the accession of Sweden and Finland, and I urge the rest of the NATO members to do so as quickly as possible. This strengthens our collective defense, sends a signal to Putin that he has no veto power in the alliance and further bolsters the transatlantic community against both Russia and China.”
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