Finland Officially Joins NATO

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Finland became NATO’s newest member 4 April 2023, upon depositing its
instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the United States at
NATO Headquarters in Brussels. NATO Allies signed Finland’s Accession Protocol
on 5 July 2022, after which all 30 national parliaments voted to ratify the
country’s membership.

“We welcome Finland to the Alliance!,” said NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto
deposited Finland’s instrument of accession with the government of the United
States, represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Secretary General
then welcomed Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to NATO Headquarters for a
flag-raising ceremony to mark the country’s accession to the Alliance.

Speaking ahead of the ceremony, the Secretary General thanked President
Niinistö for his outstanding leadership and for leading Finland into the most
successful Alliance in history. “I am deeply proud to welcome Finland as a
full-fledged member of our Alliance and I look forward to also welcoming Sweden
as soon as possible,” he said. “Joining NATO is good for Finland, it is good
for Nordic security and it is good for NATO as a whole,” he added. The
Secretary General also noted that Finland’s accession shows the world that
President Putin failed to “slam NATO’s door shut.” “Instead of less NATO, he
has achieved the opposite; more NATO and our door remains firmly open,” he

The Finnish national anthem and the NATO hymn were played, as Finland’s flag
was raised outside NATO Headquarters for the first time, in the presence of
President Niinistö, Foreign Minister Haavisto, Defence Minister Kaikkonen, the
foreign ministers of all NATO Allies and invitee Sweden. Simultaneous
flag-raising ceremonies took place at Allied Command Operations (SHAPE) in Mons
(Belgium) and Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia (United
States). Standing alongside President Niinistö, the Secretary General said:
“Finland is safer and NATO is stronger with Finland as an Ally. Your forces are
substantial and highly capable, your resilience is second to none and for many
years troops from Finland and NATO countries have worked side-by-side as
partners. From today, we stand together as Allies.”

СNN reminds, thay on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremony, NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg heralded the raising of the Finnish flag for
the first time at the alliance’s headquarters in Belgium, saying “it will be a
good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.”

But Russia has warned that further NATO expansion will not bring more
stability to Europe, and on Monday said it would scale up forces near Finland
if the alliance sent any troops or equipment to the new member country.

“We will strengthen our military capabilities in the west and northwest if
NATO members deploy forces and equipment on Finnish territory,” Russia’s Deputy
Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reiterated that Finland’s accession will
force Moscow to “take counter-measures to ensure our own security, both
tactically and strategically.”

Prior to Tuesday, Russia shared about 1,215 kilometers (755 miles) of land
border with five NATO members. Finland’s accession more than doubles NATO’s
land border with Russia.