Finland joins NATO and Russia warns of “countermeasures”

Finland became NATO’s 31st member on Tuesday after overcoming Turkey’s veto. The Russian invasion of Ukraine put an end to three decades of Helsinki’s policy of neutrality, which formally requested its entry into the military bloc in May 2022 together with Sweden, the process of which is still pending. In this way, the country and its more than 1,300 kilometers of shared border with Russia are protected by article 5 of collective defense of the Alliance.

The formal entry culminates after Finland has delivered its own instrument of accession in an act with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the NATO headquarters, on the occasion of the meeting of allied foreign ministers. Helsinki’s entry into NATO also coincides with the anniversary of the Washington Treaty with which the military organization was founded 74 years ago today, so the ceremony is loaded with symbolism.

“With the receipt of this accession instrument we can now declare that Finland is the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty,” Blinken said after receiving the document from the Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto. In its first action as a NATO ally, Finland wanted to send a signal of support to Stockholm and delivered the document ratifying Sweden’s accession to the United States.

Turkey blockade

The integration into NATO of Sweden and Finland ran into the misgivings of Turkey, which accused both countries of “lack of cooperation in the fight against Kurdish terrorism”. This refusal has been resolved after an agreement in the hours before the summit of leaders of the Atlantic Alliance in Madrid. But for the moment the veto remains for Sweden, which remains in the crosshairs of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although initially the Finnish government maintained that its intention was always to continue hand in hand with the Swede, the impossibility of moving forward together led Finland to assume that it would have to go it alone if it wanted to achieve its short-term goal.

Thus, the final approvals of Hungary and Turkey (Erdogan promulgated accession this past Saturday), have led to the formal ceremony on Tuesday, with which Finland has become the 31st member state of the Atlantic Alliance of the NATO and is entitled to the same clauses as the other partners, including collective defense.

Russia warns of consequences

The Kremlin intended to prevent a possible expansion of NATO to its borders, but with the invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin unleashed precisely the opposite effect, since Finland’s entry into the Alliance, consummated in record time, has doubled the border line between Russia and NATO.

For its part, Russia is not going to give up Finland’s entry into NATO, which represents a new escalation in relations with the Alliance, as announced by the Kremlin on Tuesday.

“That forces us to take countermeasures to guarantee our security,” Russian Presidency spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, adding that Moscow will act based on how NATO “exploits Finnish territory” and whether it deploys its infrastructure near the border. Russian.

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