Finland will join Nato on Tuesday after a swift accession process following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at Nato headquarters,” said secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security and for Nato as a whole.”
Moscow, according to Reuters, immediately responded by pledging to boost troop numbers in its western and North-western regions. Finland has a 810-mile border with Russia, meaning Nato’s direct frontier with Russia will roughly double in length.
President Sauli Niinisto will travel to Brussels to take part in Tuesday’s ceremony as his nation becomes the 31st member of the alliance. Its membership, first sought in May 2022, was ratified by Turkey last week, lifting the last hurdle to accession.
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Responding to Finland’s accession, Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said Russia would strengthen its military capacity in its western and northwestern regions, according to the state-owned news agency RIA.
Tuesday will mark the first enlargement of the defence bloc since North Macedonia joined in 2020. “President Putin went to war against Ukraine with the clear aim to get less Nato,” Stoltenberg said. “He’s getting the exact opposite.”
Sweden’s bid to join has stalled due to opposition from Turkey, whose president has said his country wouldn’t ratify membership before disputes between Ankara and Stockholm were resolved.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has accused Sweden of being too soft on groups that it deems to be terror organizations. Hungary’s parliament also has yet to ratify Sweden’s accession to Nato, and it remains unclear when it will do so.
It comes just a day after Finland‘s prime minister Sanna Marin conceded defeat in a tight election for parliament, denying her a second term in office. Petteri Orpo’s centre-right National Coalition Party claimed victory Sunday evening with around 97.7 per cent of the votes counted, coming out on top at 20.7 per cent. The right-wing populist party The Finns won 20.1 per cent and Marin’s Social Democrats 19.9 per cent.