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Finland joins NATO, in a momentous leap of military alliance

Finland joins NATO, in a momentous leap of military alliance

Finland will become the 31st member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Tuesday, in a move that will double the length of the powerful military alliance’s border with Russia.

With the entry of Finland, a direct consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO adds 1,300 kilometers of direct border with Russia.

Finland will contribute to NATO a contingent of 280,000 soldiers and one of the largest artillery arsenals in Europe.

This Tuesday Finland will have its flag on the esplanade of the NATO headquarters in Brussels, concretizing its integration process into the transatlantic institution.

Last year, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries formally invited Finland and Sweden to fully join the alliance.

Sweden will still have to negotiate further as its membership bid is vetoed by Turkey and seconded by Hungary.

Not so long ago, it was unthinkable that Finland would be a member [de la OTAN]and now he is a full member and that is something historical”, said the secretary general of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, on Tuesday.

With the accession of the country, “we are removing the room for miscalculation in Russia about NATO’s willingness to protect Finland and this makes Finland safer”, he added.

This Tuesday, Finland will proceed with the careful choreography that marks the entry of a new member country into the alliance.

Finland’s foreign minister will formally hand over the accession papers to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whose office is guardian of NATO’s founding treaty.

Next, the Finnish flag will be hoisted, between those of Estonia and France, in the special pavilion of the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

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Finland’s formal membership of NATO means the country is automatically protected by the alliance’s famous Article 5, which treats an attack on one member as an attack on all of them.

Despite its history of tensions with Russia, Finland for decades opted to remain merely a NATO partner, but Russia’s offensive in Ukraine convinced the country to abandon its policy of automatic non-alignment and seek the protection of the alliance.

Stoltenberg claimed on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.with the clear objective of having less NATO. But you will receive the exact opposite in return.”. Finland’s accession day “is really a historic day, a great day for the alliance,” Stoltenberg said.

Sweden, on the other hand, will have to wait before its flag is raised at NATO headquarters.

Turkey is reluctant to give the green light to Sweden’s accession because that country grants refuge to Kurdish leaders already suspected of involvement in the failed 2016 coup.

In January the Turkish government reacted with fury to Sweden’s decision to allow right-wing extremist protesters to stage a protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, where they even burned a copy of the Koran.

At the beginning of March, the Swedish prime minister said that the accession process of his country and Finland, which presented their candidacies simultaneously, were advancing “at different rates”.

NATO countries will hold a summit in July in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, and alliance diplomats hope that meeting could mark Sweden’s entry into the group.

On Tuesday, Blinken posted on Twitter a photo together with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom, adding that “Sweden is ready to join NATO”.

Source: Gestion

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