Sweden's accession ceremony: Stoltenberg warns of Ukraine's “surrender”.

While NATO celebrates Sweden's accession, the debate about further military aid for Ukraine continues. Officers hoisted Sweden's flag on Monday as the 32nd in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg used the acceptance ceremony to make an appeal: Ukraine's “surrender” was out of the question – and supplying cruise missiles to Kiev was legitimate, he said about the German Taurus debate.

In the pouring Brussels rain, two officers raised the Swedish flag to the sound of the national anthem. Because of the alphabetical order, it is now hanging next to the banner of Turkey, which had long delayed its yes to membership. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that the NATO support promise of “one for all, all for one” now also applies to his country. He traveled to the Belgian capital with Crown Princess Victoria for the ceremony.

Stoltenberg spoke of a “historic day” that would make the transatlantic alliance, like Sweden, stronger. Sweden already spends more than two percent of its gross domestic product on defense, the Norwegian emphasized. He was alluding to the threat of Donald Trump, the most promising Republican US presidential candidate, to no longer defend “defaulting” allies if he wins the November elections.

Stoltenberg once again appealed to all member states to continue to support Ukraine militarily against Russia. A “capitulation” by Kiev would not bring peace, he said of Pope Francis' initiative, without mentioning him by name. The Pope had called on Ukraine to have the “courage to negotiate” and raise the “white flag,” which met with widespread international criticism. Trump even boasted that he could end the war within 24 hours. Because of his resistance, further US military aid is blocked in Congress.

The NATO Secretary General also commented on the German debate about Taurus cruise missiles. While Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) continues to reject delivery to Ukraine, Stoltenberg praised Great Britain and France, which have already delivered similar long-range weapons to Kiev.

According to the UN Charter, Ukraine has the right to defend itself against the Russian war of aggression, emphasized Stoltenberg. “And we have the right to help them maintain their right to self-defense.” But Germany also provides “significant support for Ukraine,” said the Norwegian.

Sweden's Prime Minister Kristersson said of Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions: “The security situation in our region has not been this serious since the Second World War, and Russia will remain a threat to Euro-Atlantic security for the foreseeable future.”

NATO officially admitted Sweden as its 32nd member last Thursday. Kristersson handed over the accession documents to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.

Traditionally non-aligned Sweden applied for membership together with Finland in May 2022, almost three months after the Russian attack on Ukraine. While Finland joined in April 2023, Sweden's admission was delayed due to opposition from Turkey and Hungary.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in particular took a stand: Among other things, he accused Sweden of offering shelter to “terrorists” from the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

After the USA promised Turkey F-16 fighter jets, Erdogan gave in. The Turkish parliament and finally the Hungarian parliament ratified Sweden's accession at the beginning of this year.