Finland joins NATO

On Tuesday, Finland formally joined the NATO military alliance, and it became the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty.

The historic policy shift brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine quickly drew a threat from Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin had cited opposing NATO expansion as one justification for his invasion. Finnish officials said joining NATO would make the country safer and NATO stronger, and that the next goal was to get Finland’s good neighbour Sweden to the full membership.

Finland’s accession roughly doubles the length of the border that NATO shares with Russia and bolsters its eastern flank. The NATO Collective Defence Pact states that an attack on one member is an attack on all. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted Finns to seek security under NATO, ending the military non-alignment it has maintained since 1945.

On Monday, Russia said that the move raised the prospect of conflict in Ukraine and that the country would strengthen its military capacity in its Western and Northwestern regions. NATO has repeatedly stressed it’s solely a defensive alliance and doesn’t threaten Russia.

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