Finland Officially Joins NATO, Russia Feels Threatened and Promises Countermeasures

Finland has now officially joined NATO as the 31st member of the military treaty organization. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto handed over the necessary documents to Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, on Tuesday.

The handover of the documents took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “The protocol is now in force,” Blinken said at the handover, alongside Haavisto and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Finland decided to join Sweden in applying for NATO membership after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year. However, Turkey and Hungary are still blocking Swedish accession for now.

“Joining NATO is good for Finland, good for Nordic security and good for NATO as a whole,” said Stoltenberg in a press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinist√∂ after the handover of the documents. “I am also looking forward to welcoming Sweden as soon as possible. In times like now, friends are more important than ever. Finland and Sweden now have the strongest friends imaginable.”

Russia responded to the news on Tuesday afternoon. According to the Kremlin, Finland’s accession is a new escalation. “The expansion violates our security and national interests,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “That forces us to take countermeasures.” He did not give further details. Finland has a 1,300 km long border with Russia, doubling the direct land border between NATO and Russia.

“Instead of less NATO, he has brought about the opposite: more NATO. And NATO’s door remains open,” Stoltenberg said of Russia’s response.

The Finnish president spoke of a “big day for Finland”. He also wants to ensure this is an essential day for NATO. He called security and stability the basis for a happy life. Niinist√∂ also hopes that NATO will soon have 32 members, including Sweden. “From a Finnish point of view, Swedish membership is also significant.”

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