Finland joins NATO bloc; Russia says the move will escalate Ukraine conflict
Finland formally joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on Tuesday, roughly doubling the length of the border that the alliance shares with Russia and bolstering its eastern flank as the war in Ukraine grinds on with no resolution in sight.
Points to Ponder:
- On Tuesday, Finland became the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 31st member, ushering in a significant shift in the security landscape in northeastern Europe that adds 1,300 kilometers (830 miles) to the alliance’s border with Russia.
- Finland’s admission to the US-led security alliance is a setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long tried to undermine NATO and insisted the bloc refrain from further expansion before invading Ukraine.
- Instead, the invasion compelled non-aligned Finland and Sweden to abandon their neutrality and seek security within NATO, though Sweden’s bid to join the alliance has been stymied by alliance members Turkey and Hungary.
- The event marks the end of a period of military non-alignment for Finland, which started after the country repelled a Soviet Union invasion attempt during WWII and chose to retain friendly relations with Russia.