BREAKING: Sweden officially joins NATO after Hungary ratified membership

Sweden officially became a NATO member on Thursday after a drawn-out 2-year process.

After Turkey approved Sweden's membership in late January, Hungary was the last remaining member yet to submit its ratification. It finally handed over the necessary documents to Washington, making Sweden the alliance's 32nd member, The Guardian reports.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken deposited the country's "instrument of accession" to the alliance at the State Department.

“Good things come to those who wait. No better example,” said Blinken.

Sweden first submitted its application to join in May 2022 alongside Finland in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey and Hungary had previously held out on granting their approval for ratification due to their beliefs that Sweden and Finland were protecting terrorist groups. The duo also maintains closer relations with Russia than any other NATO member.

After Turkey submitted its ratification, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he would "count on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible."

“This is a historic day. Sweden will now take its rightful place at Nato’s table, with an equal say in shaping Nato policies and decisions,” the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said in a statement. “After over 200 years of non-alignment Sweden now enjoys the protection granted under Article 5, the ultimate guarantee of allies’ freedom and security.”

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