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Finland Declares its Intention to Join NATO

Following Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, Finland has signaled its intention to join NATO, bringing the western alliance to Russia's northern border.
Finland Declares its Intention to Join NATO

Finland’s leaders said Thursday they’re in favor of rapidly applying for NATO membership, paving the way for a historic expansion of the alliance that could deal a serious blow to Russia as its military struggles with its war in Ukraine, according to the Associated Press.

Finland’s leaders call for NATO membership ‘without delay’ (Associated Press)

Excerpt from the Associated Press: The annoucement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin means that Finland is all but certain to join the Western military alliance. "NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance," Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement. "Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay," they said. "We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days."
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The New York Times reports that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has said stopping NATO’s expansion helped drive him to invade Ukraine. But on Thursday, Finland declared its unequivocal intention to join, not only upending Mr. Putin’s plan, but also placing the alliance’s newest prospective member on Russia’s northern doorstep.

The declaration by Finland’s leaders that they will join NATO — with expectations that neighboring Sweden would soon do the same — could now reshape a strategic balance in Europe that has prevailed for decades. It is the latest example of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 11 weeks ago has backfired on Mr. Putin’s intentions, according to The Times.

Finland Moves to Join NATO, Upending Putin’s Ukraine War Aims (The New York Times)

Excerpt from The New York Times: Russia reacted angrily, with Mr. Putin’s chief spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, saying the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO would not make Europe safer. Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, appeared to go further, saying in an interview with a British news site he posted on Twitter that as NATO members, the two Nordic countries "become part of the enemy and they bear all the risks."
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Although NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had said the Finns would be "warmly welcomed" and promised a "smooth and swift" accession process, which is also backed by Washington, President Erdogan of Turkey has expressed reservations about Finland's entry into NATO, writes Reuters.

Erdogan says Turkey not supportive of Finland, Sweden joining NATO (Reuters)

Excerpt from Reuters: Though Turkey has officially supported enlargement since it joined NATO 70 years ago, its opposition could pose a problem for Sweden and Finland given new members need unanimous agreement. "We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don't hold positive views," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding it was a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past. "As Turkey, we don't want to repeat similar mistakes. Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organizations," Erdogan said without giving details.
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