New York: The US Senate voted late Wednesday to approve a resolution to ratify membership for Sweden and Finland in NATO, a historic vote aimed at strengthening the defense bloc amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

NATO formalized its invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance at the end of June and the decision must go to the 30 member states' parliaments and legislatures for final ratification.

President Joe Biden sent the protocols for ratification to the Senate in July, paving the way for the vote, which needed to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate to succeed. The final tally of the Senate vote was 95 to 1, with GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri voting in opposition and GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voting present.

Biden said this historic vote sends an important signal of the sustained, bipartisan U.S. commitment to NATO, and to ensuring the Alliance is prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, the White House said in a statement.

Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance will further strengthen NATOآ’s collective security and deepen the transatlantic partnership, he added.

"We will continue working to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression," he said.

"I look forward to signing the accession protocols and welcoming Sweden and Finland, two strong democracies with highly capable militaries, into the greatest defensive alliance in history," he noted.