August 2 — Virginia’s U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after the Senate voted 95-1 to approve adding Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):
“The NATO alliance has formed the foundation of the peace in Europe since the end of the second World War. With Vladimir Putin’s brazen and illegal invasion of Ukraine, strengthening NATO is more important than ever and today’s vote in the Senate sends a strong message that democracies across the globe will continue to stand up to Russian aggression.
“Three-quarters of NATO allies have now ratified Finland and Sweden’s applications, and it is essential that all remaining countries do so expeditiously to ensure that Finland and Sweden become full NATO members as soon as possible.”
In June, Chairman Warner led a bipartisan congressional delegation from the Senate Intelligence Committee on official visits to Finland and Turkey, where the senators met with intelligence and security officials in both countries and discussed Finland’s bid to join NATO. Following those meetings, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped his country’s public opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.