NATO leaders on Wednesday formally invited Sweden and Finland into the alliance after Turkey dropped its opposition, The New York Times reports.
NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday.
The bloc’s 30 members must ratify the ascension, which could take several months.
The U.S. Senate is already speeding ahead with hearings on the application and President Joe Biden has publicly supported the ascension.
Both Finland and Sweden have been nonaligned for decades but both countries had a change of heart after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the two nations joining NATO to no avail.
Turkey drops objection:
Turkey had held up the invitation over the countries’ support for the Kurds and Kurdish groups that oppose Turkey.
The three nations struck a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.
“As NATO allies, Finland and Sweden commit to fully support Turkey against threats to its national security,” Stoltenberg, said. “This includes further amending their domestic legislation, cracking down on P.K.K. activities and entering into an agreement with Turkey on extradition.”
“We consider the expansion of the North Atlantic alliance to be a purely destabilizing factor in international affairs. It does not add security either to those who are expanding it, those joining it, or to other countries that perceive the alliance as a threat,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.