Finland joins NATO, escalates tensions with Russia
April 5, 2023

Decision by Finland is likely to yield significant geopolitical consequences

In a move that is sure to escalate tensions with Russia, Finland is set to become the 31st member of NATO. The decision comes as the military alliance continues to expand its borders along Russia’s western flank, prompting Moscow to issue stern warnings about the potential consequences.

The Finnish flag will be raised in a ceremony after France and Estonia, completing the fastest accession process in NATO’s recent history.

As with all NATO members, Finland will benefit from the collective security guarantee of Article 5, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Finland, a neutral country with a long history of maintaining good relations with both Russia and the West, has been carefully considering its options when it comes to NATO membership for some time. The decision to join the alliance was not taken lightly, with concerns about potential repercussions from Moscow weighing heavily on the minds of Finnish leaders.

NATO has stated that it has no immediate plans to increase its presence in Finland, although some members have deployed troops there for war games over the last year. However, Moscow is unlikely to be reassured by these assurances and the move has been met with strong opposition from Russia.

Putin has long opposed NATO’s expansion eastward and has partly used it as a justification for Russia’s war with Ukraine. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister has warned that Moscow will increase its forces near Finland if NATO sends additional troops or equipment.

The addition of Finland helps to complete NATO’s geographical puzzle by filling in a significant gap in the strategically important Baltic Sea region in Europe’s north. On Tuesday, Turkey, the last country to ratify Finland’s membership, will present the official document enshrining its approval to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. NATO’s top civilian official will then invite Finland to hand over its own signed documents to complete the procedure.

The decision by Finland to join NATO is sure to add fuel to this ongoing debate. Supporters of the move argue that it will provide much-needed security guarantees for a country that has traditionally been caught between East and West. They point out that NATO membership will also provide Finland with access to advanced military technology and training, as well as increased opportunities for collaboration and partnership with other member states.

Critics, on the other hand, argue that the move is needlessly provocative and risks pushing Russia into a defensive posture, likely to further escalate tensions with Russia and could even provoke military action.

Regardless of the debate, the decision by Finland to join NATO is likely to have significant geopolitical consequences. It remains to be seen how Russia will respond to this latest development, but one thing is clear: tensions in the region are likely to continue to escalate in the coming months and years.

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