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Finland Joins NATO Military Alliance

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: April 5, 2023
Finnish President Saul Niinisto speaks at the festive hoisting of the Finish national flag outside NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. The Nordic country will join the Alliance as its 31st member state, on April 4, 2023. Moscou is infuriated as it feels this is a violation of its national security and has announced taking counter-steps, deepening the conflict between NATO and Russia over its military operation in Ukraine last year. (Image: Video stll/Thomson Reuters)

On Tuesday, NATO welcomed Finland as its 31st member in a festive flag-raising ceremony outside its Brussels headquarters. The move elicited outrage from Moscow, which called it a deliberate infringement on Russia’s national safety.

“By becoming a member, Finland will get an ironclad security guarantee,” Stoltenberg said at the ceremony. “Article 5, our collective defense clause, one for all, all for one, will now from today apply for Finland.”

“Your forces are substantial and highly capable. Your resilience is second to none,” the NATO Chief praised the newcomer. “And for many years, troops from Finland and NATO countries have worked side-by-side as partners. From today, we stand together as allies.”

‘Part of the world’s most successful alliance’

“For almost 75 years, this great alliance has shielded our nations and continues to do so today,” Stoltenberg continued. “But war has returned to Europe, and Finland has decided to join NATO and be part of the world’s most successful alliance.”

Finnish President Saul Niinisto later said at a press conference that he’s sure his country is now more secure and that he knows his people feel the same way.

“Security and stability are those elements which we feel very strongly, and we can all think that if people can live in secured, stable circumstances,” Niinisto said. “That’s the basic element of a happy life, and you, I guess, know that Finns are very happy already now.”

“I’m sure that Finns feel themselves more secure, feeling that we are living in a stable Europe, a stable world, and that is most important for us.”

With its admittance to NATO, Finland made a historic security policy shift as the move marks the end of an era of military non-alignment pursued by its previous administrations.

Finland had been a mostly neutral nation for its more than 100-year history of independence since the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917. It was invaded by Stalin’s Soviet Union in 1939 and subsequently joined Nazi Germany in an attempt to regain lost territory, but arrived at a deal with the Soviets after the Germans lost the war. 

Throughout the Cold War, Finland was not controlled by Moscow as many Eastern European countries were but remained neutral between the communist and Western blocs. 

‘A dangerous historical mistake’

Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the ascension to NATO as an error. “Finland has become one of the small members of (NATO) that doesn’t decide anything, losing its unique voice in international affairs. We are sure that history will judge this hasty step.” 

The Ministry said Finland was committing a dangerous historic mistake that would thwart relations with Moscow and do away with its status as a mutually trusted authority in the Baltic Sea and Europe as a whole.

On Tuesday, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Finland’s accession to NATO had worsened the already miserable situation, calling the NATO expansion a deliberate infringement on Russia’s national safety.


According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia will take “military-technical” measures in response to future Finnish and NATO activity near Russia’s northwestern frontier, including the potential deployment of NATO troops on Finnish soil. 

The NATO membership of Finland, with its 1,300 km (810-mile) border with Russia, almost doubles the joint border that NATO shares with Russia and bolsters its eastern flank.

Niinisto said Finland’s most significant contribution would be to defend its own territory, thus beefing up NATO’s common deterrence and defense policies. 

Pending Swedish bid

Finland and Sweden applied together to join NATO last year. Of NATO’s current associates, Hungary and Turkey still have to agree on Sweden’s membership bid.

The final obstacle to Helsinki’s membership was lifted last week when Turkey agreed to allow Finland in. 

According to the rules, NATO must see the “unanimous consent” of all the 30 member states before it admits any new members.

Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Sweden take additional steps against supporters of Kurdish rebels and a network Ankara holds responsible for an alleged coup attempt in 2016. Turkey considers these groups terrorist organizations.

Reuters contributed to this article.