The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Finland and Sweden’s application for NATO membership .
At the opening of the session, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, expressed his criticism of Turkey’s objection to the NATO membership of the two Nordic countries, saying that this serves Russia’s interests.
Senator Menendez stated that NATO, as a mediator of defence, takes a stance against authoritarian aggression, and that it plays a vital role not only for the security of the US, but as an organisation protecting peace and democracy.
Menendez continued to say that accession of the two countries to NATO is of great urgency, and Turkey, by standing in the way of this process, only serves Putin’s interests.
Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the bids have faced opposition from Turkey, who accuses Helsinki and Stockholm of providing shelter for Kurdish militants. Turkey also calls for the arms embargoes by the two countries to be ended in order for its veto on bids to be lifted.
NATO leaders will convene in Madrid, Spain, on June 29-30. Any NATO membership requires approval of all 30 members of the alliance.