US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House on May 18, 2022 in Washington, DC. Sullivan answered questions on a variety of topics related primarily to US President Joe Biden’s upcoming trip to Asia and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
- The United States said it was preparing for threats against Finland and Sweden as they seek to join NATO.
- National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States would not tolerate “aggression” against them.
- Nations do not gain formal NATO protection until they are members, leaving them vulnerable.
- For more stories, visit www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The United States said it would not tolerate aggression towards Sweden and Finland as they move forward with the NATO application process, which could provoke retaliation from Russia.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told a White House news conference on Wednesday that “the United States is prepared to send a very clear message, as are all of our European allies, that we will not tolerate any aggression against Finland or Sweden during this process.”
He said the US defense secretary would coordinate “practical steps” with his counterparts in Finland and Sweden to prepare.
Sullivan pointed out that Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which obliges all NATO members to respond if a member state is attacked, does not apply until the countries are members.
Finland and Sweden formally applied to become NATO members on Wednesday.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the countries’ request in a statement on Wednesday, but hinted that the countries could face additional threats as they wait to see if they become members.
He said the two nations and the US “will remain vigilant against any threat to our shared security.”
Russia has made repeated threats against Sweden and Finland for their NATO membership, saying it would have to retaliate against their efforts to join.
But he has started to use softer language in recent days as it became clear that they had decided to team up. This week, Putin said that he did not consider joining them to be a threat to Russia.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Monday that her country would be in a “vulnerable position” during the application period.
The process for the two countries to become members could now take months, particularly in light of opposition from Turkey, which as a NATO state has the power to veto new members.
As Insider’s John Haltiwanger reported, Erdogan may be seeking concessions in response to allowing new members to join.