AP: Finland joins NATO in major blow to Russia over Ukraine war

Photo: AP (Fair Use)

On Tuesday, Finland became a member of the NATO military alliance, dealing a significant blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin and leading to a historic realignment of Europe’s security landscape following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.

The addition of the Nordic country to the alliance effectively doubles Russia’s border with the world’s largest security organization. Although Finland had previously adopted a stance of neutrality after being defeated by the Soviet Union in World War II, its leaders expressed a desire to join NATO after the invasion of Ukraine caused alarm among its neighboring countries.

Before the blue-and-white flag of Finland was raised outside NATO headquarters, President Sauli Niinistö stated, “The era of nonalignment in our history has come to an end -– a new era begins.” Meanwhile, a few dozen people standing outside the security fence draped in their own flags chanted, “Ukraine needs NATO.”

In praise of Finland’s membership, U.S. President Joe Biden remarked that it coincided with the 74th anniversary of NATO’s founding treaty signing on April 4, 1949, as reported by the AP.

“When Putin launched his brutal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine, he thought he could divide Europe and NATO. He was wrong,” Biden said in a statement. “Today, we are more united than ever. And together — strengthened by our newest ally, Finland — we will continue to preserve transatlantic security, defend every inch of NATO territory, and meet any and all challenges we face.”

NATO’s expansion with the inclusion of Finland is a significant political and strategic blow to Putin, who has persistently voiced concerns over the alliance’s progression towards Russia and used this as a partial explanation for the invasion of Ukraine.

Written by staff