Finland has joined NATO as its 31st member after its foreign minister, Pekka Haavisto, signed an accession document and presented it to the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at a ceremony in Brussels.
Shortly before the ceremony, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said, “President Putin had as a declared goal of the invasion of Ukraine to get less NATO, but he is getting exactly the opposite”, adding, “This will make Finland safer and NATO stronger.”
Stoltenberg added: “Finland today, and soon also Sweden, will become a full-fledged member of the alliance.” Finland’s membership “removes the room for miscalculation in Moscow about NATO’s readiness to protect Finland”, he said.
Earlier today, Russia slammed NATO for admitting Finland as a member and called it an “attack on our security.” The Kremlin noted it was “the latest aggravation of the situation.”
“The expansion of NATO is an assault on our security, and Russia’s national interests,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told media.
Finland, Russia’s neighbour, shares a 1,340-kilometer eastern border. After Russia invaded Ukraine in May last year, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO.
Finland and Sweden have maintained a non-alignment policy ever since Helsinki rejected an effort by the Soviet Union to invade the country during World War Second. However, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the two countries looked to NATO for security.
According to Article 5 of the organization, any attack on one member is an attack on all.
Finland and Sweden submitted their membership applications in May 2022. However, Sweden’s accession is still being rebuffed by Turkey because Stockholm has not yet acceded to all of Ankara’s requests over the extradition of Kurdish refugees.