The governments of Sweden and Finland have formally submitted their applications to join NATO after thorough discussion within their respective parliaments. The move will prove to be the latest and arguably the most significant development from the West in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I warmly welcome the requests by Sweden and Finland to join NATO. You are our closest partners,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said after receiving the application requests of the two countries.

Stoltenberg proclaimed the occasion a “historic step” and “a good day at a critical time for our safety” as he held the two white folders containing the country’s application letters.

President Biden also showed his administration’s support for the membership of the two Nordic countries in a statement.