U.S. President Joe Biden met the leaders of Sweden and Finland on Thursday (May 19) after the nations set aside their long-standing neutrality and moved to join the NATO alliance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hours before his first trip to Asia as president, Biden welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the White House to discuss their NATO applications.
Biden has made uniting Europe against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a top priority. Turkey has raised questions about including Finland and Sweden in the alliance, asking Sweden halt support for Kurdish militants it considers a terrorist group and both to lift their bans on some sales of arms to Turkey.
Biden’s meeting comes as he seeks approval from the U.S. Congress for $40 billion in aid for Ukraine to provide weapons and humanitarian assistance through September.