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北大西洋公約組織和烏克蘭 ----- Matthew Mpoke Bigg
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What Is NATO, and How Has the War in Ukraine Changed It?

This Western mutual-defense alliance is central to the pushback against Russia, even though Ukraine is not a member.

Matthew Mpoke Bigg, 01/23/24, Updated 01/25/24

Sweden moved one step closer to 
joining NATO on Tuesday, after Turkey’s Parliament backed the move, underscoring how the war in Ukraine continued to reshape the military alliance nearly two years into the fighting.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia cited NATO’s eastward spread as one of his reasons for invading Ukraine. But instead of curbing it, Europe’s largest ground war since NATO was formed 74 years ago has revived and returned it to its Cold War roots as a war-fighting alliance.

Despite dwindling military supplies and competing crises, NATO members have 
vowed to sustain support for Ukraine. But military aid from the United States remains stalled in Congress and current and former European diplomats have expressed growing concern that a second Trump presidency could mean the abandonment of the government in Kyiv along with a gutting of the alliance.

Here’s a guide to NATO and how its role has shifted since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

What is NATO?

The mutual-defense alliance was established in 1949, after World War II, by the United States, Canada and 10 European countries.

The treaty for which the alliance is named 
has 14 articles by which all NATO members must abide. The most important is Article 5, which declares that an attack against one member state is an attack against them all.

That article placed Western Europe under U.S. protection in the face of a Soviet Union that was cementing its domination over Central and Eastern Europe and appeared then only to be growing in power and ambition.

After the Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s, the alliance took on a wider role. NATO forces — made up of troops volunteered by member states — 
operated as peacekeepers in Bosnia in the 1990s and bombed Serbia in 1999 to protect Kosovo, where the alliance still has troops.

Which countries are members?

In addition to the United States and Canada, the countries that became part of NATO in 1949 were Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.

Since then, 19 more European states have joined: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Turkey, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Finland became NATO’s 
31st member state last year, having abandoned a longstanding policy of military nonalignment. That added one of Western Europe’s most potent militaries to the alliance while at the same time extending NATO’s commitment to collective defense to a country that shares an 830-mile border with Russia.

Membership in NATO has long been considered 
a cheap benefit, given the American nuclear umbrella and the principle of collective defense. But the alliance also has extensive requirements of its members — not just spending goals for the military, but specific demands from each country for certain capabilities, armaments, troop strengths and infrastructure.

NATO has since 2014 been led by Jens Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway.

How has the war in Ukraine changed NATO?

In 2019, President Emmanuel Macron of France warned that NATO was 
becoming brain-dead and questioned the U.S. commitment to the alliance. But since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, NATO finds itself newly relevant.

Although the alliance does not directly provide military aid to Ukraine, NATO countries, led by the United States, the biggest overall donor, have sent tens of billions of dollars worth of equipment. All NATO member states discuss military aid to Ukraine at monthly meetings in Ramstein, Germany. The alliance has also 
helped to coordinate Ukraine’s requests for humanitarian aid.

The war has also given new centrality to countries along NATO’s eastern border, particularly the Baltic States and Poland, a country that has acquired significant new clout within the alliance. The country’s president, Andrzej Duda, was among the first foreign leaders to visit Kyiv after the invasion began and has been one of its most hawkish backers.

Why did Turkey oppose Sweden’s joining NATO?

Along with Finland, Sweden applied to join the alliance in May 2022, breaking its own policy of neutrality toward Russia. But Turkey, a NATO member, repeatedly delayed the process, saying that Sweden, the United States and Canada all needed to meet Turkish 
demands.

That exasperated other members of the alliance, who viewed Turkey as leveraging its position for domestic gain.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s Parliament voted 287 to 55 (with four abstentions) to allow Sweden to join NATO, easing the diplomatic stalemate.

All NATO member governments must agree unanimously to expand the alliance. Hungary is the only remaining holdout.

What does Sweden have to offer?

Sweden’s accession to NATO on the heels of Finland’s would essentially turn the Baltic Sea 
into a NATO-dominated waterway, one that enhances the alliance’s ability to protect its most vulnerable members: the Baltic nations. Those include Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which border Russia and its key ally, Belarus.

As Turkey dragged its feet, Sweden’s defense ministry said in October that it 
could contribute its Gripen warplanes to a Western coalition that is trying to speed fighter jets to Ukraine — but only after the Nordic nation is allowed into NATO.

Sweden’s conditional offer to give some JAS-39 Gripens came as NATO 
races to train Ukrainian pilots and support crews to fly Western fighter jets — what officials and experts describe as one of the few weapons systems that could change the course of the war. Allies have already pledged to donate as many as 60 F-16s to Ukraine once its pilots are ready.

Where does Ukraine’s membership stand?

Joining NATO has for years been a central goal of Ukraine’s foreign policy, part of its plan to secure its future within the European Union and the West. As far back as 2008, NATO said Ukraine would eventually become a member. Russia’s invasion raised the stakes, and the government in Kyiv 
applied to join NATO last September.

NATO has promised that Ukraine can join eventually — without giving a timeline — and drawn up a list of 
reforms the country must embrace before that can happen. To avoid putting the alliance in direct conflict with Russia, Kyiv is not expected to be able to join NATO during the war.

What about other European countries?

Other countries in Europe like Ireland and Austria have chosen not to join NATO because of a policy of military neutrality.

Belarus, another country on Russia’s border, is not a member of NATO. President Alexander G. Lukashenko of Belarus is a close ally of Mr. Putin and allowed his country to be used as a staging ground for the invasion of Ukraine.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Hubbard, Lara Jakes, Steven Erlanger and Cassandra Vinograd.

A correction was made on Jan. 25, 2024:


Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the number of years that the fighting in Ukraine has been underway. It’s been nearly two years, not three.


Matthew Mpoke Bigg is a correspondent covering international news. He previously worked as a reporter, editor and bureau chief for Reuters and did postings in Nairobi, Abidjan, Atlanta, Jakarta and Accra. More about Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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荷蘭總理將接任北約秘書長 -- Bart H. Meijer
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瑞特總理看來是位對俄國的鷹派,也是位務實的政壇老手。顯然維爾德斯(2023/12/02)已經組閣成功


Dutchman Mark Rutte, longtime Putin critic, set to lead NATO alliance

, 06/19/24

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -
Mark Rutte, who looks set to be NATO's next secretary-general, is a staunch ally of Ukraine and a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who honed his skills as a political dealmaker during nearly 14 years as Dutch prime minister.

Rutte, 57, has been one of the driving forces behind Europe's military support for Ukraine since Russia's 2022 invasion, and says defeat on the battlefield for Moscow is vital to secure peace in Europe.

His view is heavily influenced by the downing of an airliner over Ukraine in 2014, which the Netherlands blames on Russia, and in which 196 of the 298 victims were Dutch. NATO must be powerful to counter Moscow, and other European Union leaders must not be naive about Putin's Russia, he says.

"He won’t stop at Ukraine, if we don’t stop him now. This war is bigger than Ukraine itself. It’s about upholding the international rule of law," Rutte told the United Nations in September 2022, seven months after Russia's full-scale invasion.

Rutte first took office in 2010 and went on to become the longest-serving Dutch prime minister before announcing last year that he planned to leave national politics.

After the downing of flight MH17, he went from being primarily domestically focused to one of the EU's main dealmakers, playing an important role in European debates on immigration, debt and the response to COVID-19.

Under his leadership, the Netherlands has increased defence spending to more than the 2% threshold of GDP required of NATO members, providing F-16 fighter jets, artillery, drones and ammunition to Kyiv and investing heavily in its own military.

His path to replace Jens Stoltenberg, who steps down as NATO chief in October after nearly a decade at the helm, became all but certain after Hungary and Slovakia indicated on June 18 that they would back his nomination to lead the 32-state alliance.

That left only Romania, whose President Klaus Iohannis was also vying for the job, opposed to Rutte's candidacy.

Stoltenberg said on Tuesday Rutte was a "very strong" candidate to replace him and a decision was near.

Under Stoltenberg, who joined a few months after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, the alliance has added Montenegro, North Macedonia, Finland and Sweden as new members.

Some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had hoped Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas would become the first woman to lead NATO but others saw her as too hawkish towards Russia.

TRANSATLANTIC BOND

Rutte will step aside formally as prime minister when the recently forged right-wing Dutch government replaces his centre-right coalition.

Rutte, who is unmarried, has lived all his life in The Hague and had hinted he might enjoy teaching after politics, but he cited the war in Ukraine as the reason for seeking an international post as he set his sights on the NATO leadership.

He is a strong backer of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whom he recalled meeting in Kyiv five years ago.

"It was clear even then: this is a man with a mission... I am convinced that Ukraine's success largely depends on the mentality he conveyed from the very beginning," Rutte told Reuters in April.

By contrast, even while warning of the threat posed by Putin, he has suggested the Russian leader is not as strong as he seems.

"Don't mentally overestimate Putin. I've talked to the man a lot. He's not a strong man, he's not a strong guy," Rutte said in a debate with parliament in April.

Rutte cemented his bid to become NATO's new chief last year while co-leading an international coalition that will deliver F-16 fighters to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots.

In his last months in office, he also signed a 10-year security pact with Ukraine, guaranteeing support from the Netherlands despite criticism by far-right leader and election-winner Geert Wilders.

Rutte has forged good relationships with various British and U.S. leaders and is widely seen as having been one of the most successful in the EU at dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump, who is standing for re-election.

This could prove valuable experience, as Trump's possible return has unnerved NATO leaders since the former president called into question U.S. willingness to support other members of the defence alliance if they were attacked.

At the annual Munich Security Conference last year, Rutte said leaders should stop "moaning and whining about Trump", and spend more on defence and ammunitions production, regardless of who wins the U.S. election.


(Reporting by Bart Meijer, Anthony Deutsch and Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Sharon Singleton)

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德軍第一支協防立陶宛部隊 -- 德國之聲
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此文和本欄2024/04/06文以及馬克洪總統發言參看可以理解為

1) 
歐洲國家領袖在準備川普2.0時代的可能來臨
2) 
歐洲國家領袖在向普丁表達WhoWho


Germany sends first soldiers for permanent Lithuania force

DW (德國之聲
), 04/08/24

Germany is setting up a military base in Lithuania intended to deter Russia from further attacking its neighbors. The base is set to be fully operational with nearly 5,000 troops by 2027.

The first group of German soldiers arrived in Lithuania on Monday as part of a new brigade that will be permanently stationed on NATO's eastern flank.

The advance team of about 20 staff will begin setting up the base. They will eventually be joined by around 4,800 German soldiers.

The brigade, to be named Panzerbrigade 45, will be fully operational by 2027.

"This is the first time that we have permanently stationed such a unit outside Germany," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at a farewell ceremony in Berlin on Monday.

"I know there is still a lot to do, including on site. The infrastructure has to be right, the barracks have to be there, the accommodation," Pistorius said.

"There is still a lot to be done on the Lithuanian side," the minister added. "We will do everything we can to equip the brigade as it needs to be equipped from the outset."

Responding to the deployment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the German military presence in Lithuania would escalate tensions.

Why is Germany stationing a brigade in Lithuania?

Germany's Defense Ministry said the new military base is intended to deter Russia from further attacking its neighbors after the invasion of Ukraine.

Lithuania has a border with the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad and Moscow's close ally Belarus. The German army, or Bundeswehr, said this makes Lithuania the most exposed state on NATO's eastern flank.


Western military analysts in the West have long viewed the Suwalki Gap, the part of Lithuania's territory lying between the two, as a potential flashpoint area in any standoff between Russia and NATO.

The aim is to station 4,800 troops and around 200 civilians permanently in Lithuania in coordination with NATO.

Berlin will deploy two combat troop battalions from the German states of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia to form the core of the new Lithuania brigade.

A third battalion will be a multinational NATO battle unit as part of the alliance's Enhanced Forward Presence force.

A battalion is already in Lithuania, under German command, with rotating personnel from several other nations.

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北大西洋公約75周年:未來何去何從? -- William Alberque
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As Nato turns 75, what's next for the alliance?

In a world of great power competition and deteriorating global security, the lessons and benefits of the Nato model are clear

William Alberque, 04/04/24

It is a time of great change for the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as it marks its 75th anniversary. With new members come some new, if somewhat familiar, challenges. Nato’s relevance has never been more obvious in the face of a destabilised global security environment that is unlike anything since the darkest days of the Cold War.

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington on April 4, 1949 by 12 democracies that sought to stand together against the imminent threat posed by the massive army and aggressive posturing of the
Soviet Union. Those nations created Nato together with one purpose: to ensure that “an armed attack against one” “shall be considered an attack against them all”, and therefore deter attack on any. These famous phrases from Article 5 of the Treaty are further embedded within Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right of states to “individual or collective self-defence”, locating Nato firmly within the rules-based order.

The threats faced by Nato today are familiar. In the alliance’s members’ view, those threats include a revisionist Russia seeking to expand its borders, joined by an increasingly active China, and other disruptive regional powers such as
North Korea and Iran feeding non-state actors with advanced weapons, while also seeking technological and military capabilities to disrupt regional and international peace.

Nato also faces new threats as wars spread across new domains, and the effects of climate change mix with conflicts to feed a seemingly endless cycle of resource competition, extremism and terrorism that drives population displacement – all resulting in increased instability, poverty and misery.

Nato has adapted to respond to regional and global threats, enlarging its membership and partnerships, and expanding its focus on how it can contribute to peace.
Its membership now includes 32 members – the addition of Finland and Sweden making clear the desire for Euro-Atlantic democracies to stand together, with less and less room for states to stand idly by and watch as Russia threatens and attacks its neighbours.

But while Russia poses an immediate challenge, China may pose more long-term and global challenges. Thus, Nato continues to deepen its dialogue and co-operation with global partners, strengthening ties with the countries of the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, including its traditional partners such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the countries of the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative, as well as dialogue with the GCC (海灣合作組織
).

Nato will continue to focus on traditional defence issues – many allies neglected their national defences in the hope that the end of the Cold War would usher in a period of global peace and stability. They need to rebuild their defence capabilities and relearn the habits of national resilience that have been lost over the past few decades.

These habits were lost as the global order suffered through the 1990s and 2000s, especially with the ruinous War on Terror dividing and distracting nations from longer-term threats and wreaking terrible chaos and disruption on the Middle East.

Therefore, it is essential that Nato works closely with its partners in the region and the Asia-Pacific to find common ground and co-operate together, whether on traditional military issues such as defences against the threat posed by proliferating missiles and armed drones, or on non-traditional defence issues such as cyberwar, information warfare and the adaptation of new technologies by state and non-state actors that can threaten peace and security.

The threat posed by missile and drone proliferation straddles these two domains – traditional and non-traditional security issues – as Iran continues to supply non-state actors in the Middle East with ever-more destructive military capabilities, alongside economic and material support. Nato can still play a positive role on these issues in the Middle East, serving both as a model in terms of compatibility, interoperability and co-operation, and through direct co-operation to increase national defences and resilience in the region.

Nato is adapting to the increased pace of technological change, with the establishment of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or Diana – similar to the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency – and the 2023 Defence Production Action Plan to strengthen engagement with industry and increase military industrial capacity across the alliance.

Diana itself will create more than 200 world-class centres of technological innovation to address current and future security issues, including the threats posed by artificial intelligence, cyberwarfare, advanced missile technologies, lethal autonomous systems, biotechnology innovation and increased contestation in outer space. Diana is further supported by the Nato Science and Technology Organisation, which brings together more than 5,000 scientists and engineers from across 40 allies and partner nations to understand evolving future threats and apply science to increase global security.

Ultimately, the future of Nato’s co-operation with allies in other regions is in the hands of those states themselves – as is the future of their own security. The chief lesson from 75 years of Nato is that its member states have a shared and unignorable interest in their own security. They cannot ignore or outsource the defence, security and resilience of their own nations, territories and populations – and they cannot provide true security on their own. No country can.

The states of the Nato alliance can, by working together, provide common defence that can deter attacks by other nations and bring about a lasting peace. In a world of great power competition and deteriorating global security, the lessons and benefits of that model are clear.


William Alberque is director of strategy, technology and arms control at the International Institute for Security Studies.

MORE FROM THE NATIONAL

Nato eyes expansion of missions in the Middle East and North Africa
Is it all water under the bridge for Turkey, Nato and the US?
Sweden's de jure Nato membership is a litmus test for Turkey

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德國軍方開始備戰 ---- Frank Hofmann
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這篇文章的內容並沒有就標題中的「開始備戰」多所著墨,大部分文字在敘述德國軍隊從冷戰時期到2022俄軍入侵烏克蘭前夕這段期間的演變。

想來此文目的在「投石問路」或丟出話題來炒作。


Bundeswehr starts preparing for war

Frank Hofmann, Deutsche Welle, 04/2024

NATO was created to act as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and the West German army trained for the defense against attacks from the east. Three decades later, the threat is once again from Moscow. It was early 1996 when German soldiers in combat gear stepped onto the territory of another European country for the first time since the Second World War. The Germans did not come to Bosnia-Herzegovina as UN peacekeepers, or Blue Helmets, but as part of the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR).

In 1992, the former Yugoslavian republic had been plunged into the bloodiest war on European soil since 1945 by the country's ethnic Serb minority, with the support of the troops of the Serbian autocrat Slobodan Milosevic. In December 1995, the warring parties, the neighboring countries and the heads of state and government of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany signed the Dayton Peace Agreement.

NATO formed IFOR, which was succeeded by the Stabilization Force (SFOR), to maintain the ceasefire and stabilize peace in the small southeastern European state.

German Bundeswehr soldiers not prepared

Germany participated but the Bundeswehr was only partially prepared for the mission in the mountainous country. The soldiers of the German army had not been trained for "out of area" operations. At times, they had to widen roads because the heavy military equipment was unable to pass through.

During the Cold War, the Bundeswehr of the German Federal Republic (West Germany), which joined NATO in 1955, had primarily been responsible for defending against a possible attack by the Warsaw Pact countries, which were in the Soviet zone of influence and included the socialist German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

There were half a million Soviet soldiers stationed in East Germany. And the GDR's National People's Army (NVA) boasted over 150,000 additional soldiers.

Every year, scenarios of an attack were enacted in NATO maneuvers and exercises that took place on flat land in northern Germany, primarily with tanks.

The idea was that Leopard main battle tanks and Bundeswehr units would defend against such an attack from the east until unrestricted air sovereignty was established with the help of NATO's largest member, the US.

German army has halved in size

From 1958 to 1972, the West German army grew in strength from 249,000 to 493,000 troops.

Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the number of troops hovered around 480,000. When the Bundeswehr integrated the National People's Army, with the primary aim of phasing out its structures, the number increased again briefly.

Some 20 years later, there were only about 200,000 soldiers left in the Bundeswehr. By 2023, it only had 181,000 members, according to the German Ministry of Defense.

Only a small proportion of these soldiers are trained to be deployed for combat as part of NATO missions.

Afghanistan deployments

The Bundeswehr's role in NATO changed again after the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001 prompted the US to invoke the alliance's common defense clause and Germany met its treaty obligations. The German army was part of the US-led coalition that went on to invade Afghanistan and oust the Taliban.

For a long time, the Bundeswehr concentrated on training up units that could be transported quickly, even to Afghanistan. Until the Zeitenwende, or "turning point," a term coined by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a speech to the German parliament just days after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, many in the military had not been preparing for such a surface land attack in Europe, three decades after the end of the Cold War.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has since said that the Bundeswehr must become "war ready." Some analysts predict that Russia, which has switched to a war economy, could launch an attack on NATO territory in fewer than five years.

After three decades of "out of area" operations, the Bundeswehr would currently only have enough ammunition to defend itself against such an attack for a few days.

Therefore, the idea now is to upgrade NATO to such an extent that it can be a strong deterrent to Russia attacking NATO territory. Just as it was during the four decades of the Cold War.

This article was translated from German.

Copyright 2024 DW.COM, Deutsche Welle. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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中、東歐國家慶祝加入北大西洋公約20周年--Liudas Dapkus
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以下報導可以視為從反面說明:

1) 
何以烏克蘭急著加入北大西洋公約。
2) 
何以俄國要在烏克蘭加入北大西洋公約之前「先下手」。

那些在2022(甚至直到現在)替普丁吹喇叭的中、外「援嘴」和「援手」們(1)其無後乎

附註:

1. 
援嘴」的釋義請見此文附註1;準此,援手」 = 援交」之「援」 + 寫手」之「手」;亦可稱「『吹喇叭』手」。


Central and Eastern European countries mark 20 years in NATO with focus on war in Ukraine

, 03/29/24

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Several central and Eastern European countries began marking on Thursday the 20th anniversary of the largest expansion of the NATO military alliance when formerly socialist countries became members of the bloc.

Military aircraft roared over the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. At the main airbase hosting Spanish and Portuguese fighter jets tasked with NATO air policing missions in the Baltic region, officials gathered to commemorate the event.

“Russia’s new bloody terror in Europe is contributing to the growth of instability and threats around the world. However, we in Lithuania are calm because we know that we will never be alone again,” said President Gitanas Nauseda, standing near the runway where the first NATO jets landed back in 2004. “We will always have a strong, supportive Alliance family by our side, and we will face any challenges together.”

Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined NATO on March 29 in 2004, bringing the total membership of the Alliance to 26. The seven nations started accession negotiations soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and eventually were invited to join at the Prague Summit in November 2002. Another group of former Soviet satellites including Poland and the Czech Republic had been admitted several years earlier.

Since joining the alliance, these countries often warned about the threat of Russia, using their national trauma of Soviet occupation as proof of credibility. While Western nations often dismissed their sometimes hawkish attitude, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is seen as a vindication of those fears. They have given some of the most robust responses, helping Ukraine with equipment and money, and pushing for even greater sanctions on Russia.

Most of the former Soviet Republics that joined NATO at the turn of the millennium spend more than the required 2% of gross domestic product on defense. When Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis announced his bid earlier this month to become the next leader of the alliance, he emphasized the threat from Russia and said the alliance needs a “renewal of perspectives” that Eastern Europe could provide.

“Russia is proving to be a serious and long-term threat to our continent, to our Euro-Atlantic security,” the 65-year-old said when he announced his bid. “NATO’s borders become of paramount importance, and the strengthening of the eastern flank ... will remain a long-term priority.”

The seven countries are marking the anniversary with solemn events and shows of force, but also some levity, with open-air concerts and exhibitions.

“Twenty years ago the Bulgarian people made the right choice for our country to join NATO,” the country’s defense chief Adm. Emil Eftimov said. “Given today’s security situation, this is the most appropriate decision we have made in our recent history.”

NATO was established in the aftermath of World War II.


Associated Press writers Stephen McGrath in Sighisoara, Romania, and Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria contributed to this report.


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瑞典獲准加入北大西洋公約組織 -- Julia Gomez
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With Sweden joining NATO after clearing Hungary's opposition, see the new NATO map

27/24

Map of NATO countries after Sweden’s joining. Sources: 
NATOCNNBritannica • French Guiana in South America is an overseas department of France (請至原網頁查看地圖)

With Hungary's parliament voting to ratify Sweden's bid to join NATO, the Scandinavian nation is set to join 31 other countries in the alliance.

After nearly two years of negotiations, Sweden follows 
Finland, which was accepted into NATO last year. The countries applied to join at the same time in May 2022, but Hungary and Turkey both objected to Sweden joining.

The Nordic country's entry into NATO was momentarily paused with opposition from Turkey, but the country eventually agreed to support Sweden's bid to join the organization, according to 
the Associated Press.

Sweden's final hurdle came Monday, when Hungary at last voted to let the nation join NATO

Why didn't Turkey or Hungary want Sweden to join NATO?

Turkey 
previously cited Sweden's support for Kurdish separatist groups and restrictions on arms exports from the country as reasons it had reservations about its joining.

On the other side, Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is a right-wing nationalist who has forged close ties with Russia. The country cited criticism from Swedish politicians of Hungary’s democracy as harming relations between the two countries, leading to a reluctance among lawmakers in Orbán's party, Fidesz, to support Sweden's bid.

Can Sweden join NATO with out Hungary's permission?

No. All members of NATO must give their approval before another country is able to join, according to the Associated Press.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a parliament session, on the day lawmakers are expected to approve Sweden's accession into NATO, in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Feb 26, 2024. Hungary's parliament voted Monday to ratify Sweden's bid to join NATO, likely bringing an end to more than 18 months of delays that have frustrated the alliance as it seeks to expand in response to Russia's war in Ukraine.

Why is Sweden joining a big deal?

According to reporting from USA TODAY and the AP, these are some of the reasons why:

*  Their entry has been blocked for over two years
Sweden has stayed out of military alliances for over 200 years, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed that. While Sweden doesn't border Russia, it is very close to it.
Russia opposed NATO's expansion and threatened to respond if NATO tried to establish military infrastructure in Sweden or Finland, which does border Russia.

The following countries are members of NATO: (
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What is NATO? (
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Contributing:
 Janet LoehrkeGeorge Petras and Kim Hjelmgaard; USA TODAY

Julia is a trending reporter for USA TODAY. She has covered various topics, from local businesses and government in her hometown, Miami, to tech and pop culture.


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